Tag Archives: necessary and proper

James Madison and the Necessary and Proper Clause


“Necessary and proper” ranks among the most abused clauses in the Constitution. It has been dubbed the “elastic clause” because of the perception that it allows the scope of federal power to expand. The federal government began abusing this clause within years of ratification. In 1800, James Madison countered these early abuses, forcefully arguing that […]

Thoughts from Maharrey Head #54: What Is Necessary and Proper?

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“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom” I this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about the Constitution’s necessary and proper clause. Hint: it doesn’t mean anything and everything. Politicians and legal academics often call the necessary and proper clause the “elastic clause” because it supposedly expands the powers of the federal government. In fact, […]

Constitution 101: Necessary and Proper, Not Anything and Everything


Last week, we considered the first of several constitutional clauses often misinterpreted to expand federal power. We started with the “general welfare clause,” and established that it does not give the federal government the authority to do anything and everything that might promote the general welfare of the United States. This week we take up […]