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Comment Re:The big question that must be answered (Score 1) 784

Yeah, that's why states can't force out-of-state sellers to collect the sales tax now. It is prohibited by the dormant commerce clause. However, Congress can pass a law which allows the states to collect such sales tax. So basically, collecting sales tax on internet purchases affects interstate commerce too much. So it is the domain of the federal government and not states, but the Federal Government can give authority to the states if it wants.

Comment Re:if you think the 1st amendment is over... (Score 1) 685

Was this a bad attorney? I imagine the pot shouldn't have been admitted into evidence (meaning he would almost have to be acquitted) since it was found in an unconstitutional search and seizure (violation of the 4th Amendment). You could have testified to this. Of course, it would have been your word and your friend's against that of the police officer.

Comment Re:A Strawman for the Symptom (Score 1) 723

In the United States, it's unconstitutional to pass an "ex post-facto" law - how is it that the terms of copyright are being retroactively renegotiated?

Probably because the Constitutional ex post facto provision only applies to criminal laws and not civil ones. See Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798).

Before some of you go about getting very angry and saying the Constitution doesn't say it only applies to criminal laws, note the date of this case (1798 - decided by people who were around during the time when the Constitution was created).

Comment Re:Republicans are Flat-Earth Economists (Score 1) 658

I wouldn't bother with a bill in the first place--I don't see stimulating the economy listed as a federal government responsibility in the Constitution--but if you're going to do this at least be honest about it.

What's up with you people on Slashdot? See below for some language that is actually in the Constitution.

Yes, the Federal Government is a government of limited power. It is limited to the powers enumerated in the Constitution. The Constitution does not specify what the motivations for using those powers must be though. Is President Herbert Hoover your favorite president?

The Federal Government can regulate commerce, establish post roads, etc. Nothing in the Constitution says it can only do so for certain reasons, and not to stimulate the economy. The Federal Government has enormous spending authority. It can't force states to do certain things, but it can entice them with the money strings

Constitution, Section 8

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Also, I think we should stop giving the Founders so much credit. They couldn't even spell "defense" correctly. (Just joking, no offense to the rest of the English speaking world is meant).

Comment Re:Constitutional basis for the pork? (Score 1) 414

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxing_and_Spending_Clause for some interesting information on this in layman's terms. Looks like there wasn't an agreement on the reach of this clause by the founding fathers.

But under Supreme Court case law, Congress has pretty broad discretion in using its spending power.

As to your question:

Why would it bother to list in Article 1, Section 8 anything? Could they not all be found in "general welfare?"

No, they can't do anything under the general welfare clause. The Federal Government is bound by the enumerated powers in the Constitution. So while say forcing the states to do something might be beyond its power, it can entice the states to fall in line using the power of the purse strings. Of course there are some restrictions. See South Dakota v. Dole.

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