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The United States Constitution gives very specific powers to congress These powers are very limited and are each enumerated in the text of the Constitution One of the powers is to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states and with the Indian tribes Article I Section 8 This is the only reference in the constitution that speaks about commerce The Tenth Amendment states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people By reading these statements in the constitution most people would believe that the states have enormous power to control the day to day activities within their state borders James Madison who was one of the biggest supporters of a powerful federal government wrote the following in the Federalist Papers The powers delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are few and defined Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite The former will be exercised principally on external objects as war peace negotiation and foreign commerce The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs concern the lives liberties and properties of the people and the internal order improvement and prosperity of the State 1778 But during oral arguments involving the application of the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution Justice Antonin Scalia pressed the Solicitor General Seth P Waxman to name a single activity or program that our modern-day Congress might undertake that would fall outside the bounds of the Constitution The stunned Clinton appointee could not think of one Moore 1999 How did we get from federal powers that are few and defined to powers that have no bounds One of the main reasons is the modern interpretation of the aforementioned commerce clause The
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