Saturday, April 18, 2009

Is the New York Times familiar with the Federalist Papers?

Chicago AM, Saturday, April 18, 2009

Editors, New York Times


Your Saturday, April 18, editorial "A Danger to Public Health and Welfare" says "... the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday confirmed what... had never been declared as a matter of federal law: carbon dioxide... constitute[s] a danger to public health...." Could the fact that federal law comes (so far) only from the US Constitution, which says nothing about an Environmental Protection agency, have anything to do with this?

Ah, but you say: "General welfare clause" to which James Madison (remember him?), in his Federalist #41 wrote: "Some [Constitution critics say...] that the power to 'provide for the... general welfare of the United States' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the... general welfare.... "But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?"

And sure enough, following that semicolon are 17 specific clauses defining what Congress can do, with nary a mention of 'environment' or 'protection', no 'carbon dioxide' or 'climate change', either. Of course, Madison knew things would change, so he and his friends added a way for future generations to accommodate this: get 2/3 of each house of congress to agree, have this confirmed by 3/4 of the state legislatures, and you can add an amendment giving as much environmental protection as you want, let alone need. No need to even bother the President's pretty little head about it.

Arnold H Nelson5056 North Marine Drive Chicago

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