The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The Necessary and Proper Clause of the US Constitution is Unnecessary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/14/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,440 times Debate No: 22022
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (1)




The Necessary and Proper Clause - The Congress shall have Power - 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.[1]

Pro argues that this clause is unnecessary to have in the US Constitution.
Con argues that it is necessary.

First Round Acceptance



I accept my opponents definition and source, providing the fact that in this debate wiki and other such associated links are mutually valid, but not exclusive hereto. It is recognized that Pro will argue in favor of the aforementioned resolution, and Con, myself, will argue in negation, that such Clause is a necessary function for this governmental entity.

In light of the resolution, the definition of this resolution is exclusive to this source; other such definitions, sources, links, and other forms of evidence shall NOT change the meaning, semantical or otherwise, to the boundaries of this resolution.

My opponent assumes the burdon of proof, seeing as he is in favor of changing the status quo. As defined by ( in Science and Other uses this most directly applies, to quote: "'burden of proof" means that someone suggesting a new theory or stating a claim must provide evidence to support it".

With the above prelude, I hereby accept this debate and the Burdon of Clash.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting what is sure to be an interesting debate.

1. Recital

When you break down the Constitution like a legal document, which it is, you can see that the Necessary and Proper Clause actually grants Congress no power whatsoever but is merely what is called a recital.

Recital - a detailed account [1]

It is placed at the end of Article I, Section 8 as an explanation—that is, a “recital.” A recital is a passage in a legal document that has no substantive legal effect, but serves to inform the reader of assumptions or facts behind the document. Another example of a recital in the Constitution is the Preamble. [2] This "clause" was placed in this position merely to explain the purposes given in the previous section when dealing with the list of Congressional powers. There is no way the Founders would have written in such a broad and over sweeping clause.

Given it's status as a legal recital it is unnecessary to use this clause.

a) The Way It Works

This was placed at the end of Article I as a recital to be used with the enumerated powers.

Such as: "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution...the power to levy taxes".

This clause doesn't give Congress a new power but rather is a recital to the enumerated powers saying how Congress should pass law and that is only to support the enumerated powers.

Therefore, it is unnecessary to have.

2. Nonsensical

If you look at the wording of this clause it says it gives Congress the power to make laws that help in the execution of the enumerated powers. This does not make sense. This gives the Congress the power to pass laws (a power it already has) to enforce its own powers. Congress does not need this power to be re given to it.

Then what supports the execution of the laws passed to enforce the execution of the Constitutional law? Do we need a clause saying they can pass laws to pass laws to enforce the Constitution? This clause seems trite and meandering. If you pass a law that falls under the Necessary and Proper Clause what enforces that law? Laws do not enforce things, law enforcement enforces laws.

a) Three Branches

Congress does not need to pass laws to enforce the Constitution, that is ludicrous. The way our government was designed gives the Congress power to pass laws within the enumerated powers, the Executive Branch is then supposed to enforce the law, and the Supreme Court then makes sure the actions of the Congress and the Executive Branch coincide with the Constitution. This system was set up so that they all enforce each other in a balance. Why would Congress need special powers to create law to enforce law? It doesn't. It is unnecessary. The Supreme Court, the Commander in Chief and the Department of Justice should be plenty to enforce the Constitution and should stand triumphantly over the Necessary and Proper Clause.

3. Abused Power

Most regulations today are justified by the use of the Necessary and Proper Clause [2]. Since this clause was given an extremely vague wording with no guidelines, the government now uses it today to pass whatever it wants as long as it can in some way try to say it is needed when this wasn't even the written purpose of this part of the Constitution.

4. Unnecessary

Given the three branch support system we have created this clause is completely unnecessary. The function was as a recital to be used to plug in enumerated powers and show how Congress should pass law not a new power giving the Congress unlimited legislative power.

This clause clashes with both the 9th and 10th Amendments.

9th Amendment - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. [3]

10th - 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. [4]

By giving Congress this clause to use it has given it unlimited legislative power which then takes away the Rights of the States and the People given in the 9th and 10th Amendments. Since the clause is not specific it then gives the government power to pass any law which contradicts both of these Amendments which says that any power not specifically given in the Constitution is given to the states.

Since this clause is ambiguous and nonsensical it gives both the government power to pass any laws "necessary" and "proper" while simultaneously giving the states and the people the rights to resist such laws.

It is a contradiction and therefore can be taken out.

The government would run just fine without the Necessary and Proper Clause since the clause is vague, misused, unneeded and nonsensical. It contradicts given rights and powers already in the Constitution while serving no direct purpose and can be safely moved as being unnecessary.

Thank you.



Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I extend all arguments.


Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago

That makes absolutely NO sense haha.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
You can try to make a case still?
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago

lol that didn't help your standpoint.
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
Damn. I wish you wouldn't have responded so quickly. I was out all weekend.
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
*kill all people
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
@16Kadams: You can't limit options based on a hypothetical and unrealistic fear. The government is by the people. If government saw it nessicary to kill people, our government as an entity wouldn't kill people- it would be mass suicide.
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago

AHHHHHHHHH STFU You're giving me a headache D:
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
@Mestari, but if its necessary, then its not *not* necessary, so then it necessarily wouldnt be necessary in order to be unnecessary. But if its unnecessarily necessary, then its not really necessary and would instead be not *un*necessary.
Posted by Mestari 6 years ago
But it's called the necessary and proper clause... not the unnecessary and proper clause. Mindfvck.
Posted by BlackVoid 6 years ago
So you're arguing that the Necessary and Proper clause is not necessary and proper.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Xerge 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit....