Constitutional History

Tom Coburn Educates MSNBC Contributor on Enumerated Powers

• August 2, 2012 8:36 am


JONATHAN CAPEHART: Sen. Coburn, it's Jonathan Capehart. I want to bring you back to something you said when you first came on; you were talking about people in the Tea Party who are fed up with Washington and for the abandonment of the Constitution. Could you please tell me how and when did we abandon the Constitution?

TOM COBURN: Yeah, I can. Go read article 1, section 8. It gives the enumerated powers and what you're seeing happen – and this has been a progressive thing, the courts have abandoned the Constitution, not holding Congress within article 1, section 8 of the Constitution. This has been something that has been progressive. The American people get it. Our founders got it. The one part of the balance of power that doesn't get talk about and what you're seeing expressed through the Tea Party is the real balance of power that the founders wanted was for we the people to hold the government accountable. That's what's going to start happening in this country. We're $16 trillion in debt. We have totally cut the legs out from underneath our kids and grandkids and now we're saying there's something wrong with the people that want to get back to the thing that built this country rather than thing that tore it down.

CAPEHART: I tell you, Senator, article 1, section 8, I should know this but I don't–

COBURN: It's the enumerated powers with be what the founders gave us as the authority under which we can work. The constitution is loaded with nos. It's not loaded with yesses. It tells us what we can’t do, and here’s what it tells us where we can. We’ve so abandoned and expanded the federal government outside the range, outside the range of what our founders ever thought the federal government would have a hand in. You can't go anywhere that the federal government doesn't have involvement and wrongly so, because quite frankly, even though we're well intentioned, we're not very good at doing these things.

Published under: Journalists, Media, Tom Coburn, Video