Talk:Necessary and Proper Clause

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This article is about one (or many) thing(s).

Definition of Proper[edit]

The definition of necessary seems clear enough. If one must do something in order for another thing to happen, then the former is necessary to the latter.

However, the definition of "proper" seems vague. Can anyone clarify this?

Was Wickard really about forbidding him to EAT his own wheat? I thought it was merely to grow in excess of the quota. The opinion in fact seems to say that the lower court failed to find out what the disposition of the grown corn was in fact, fact that he exceeded his quota. (I also thought it was wheat, not corn.) Biogon (talk) 04:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, I think you're right, but since you have to grow it before you can eat it, I'd say the result is the same. <grin> It's been a while since I read the opinion, but I believe Wickard's use for the grain was to feed his hogs. (talk) 10:43, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
One possibility is to relate it to Aristotle's proper function argument, which says: something is proper of another thing if it precisely fulfills the definition of that thing. For example, I speak properly of a doctor when I say he cures the bodies of patients. I speak loosely of a doctor when I say he must eat food to survive. His eating food to survive might be proper of him qua human being, but not of him qua doctor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Const. Text[edit]

Noticed that the text of the clause was not complete. Added the complete text as showing at (talk) 22:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


why is this entry hyphenated? It is two words - "Necessary", and "proper". Not one hyphenated idiom. (talk) 18:27, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Of course, "necessary-and-proper" is hyphenated when it is an adjective. In the English language, we have lots of hyphenated adjectival or adverbial phrases, such as "dawn-to-dusk", "analog-to-digital", "digital-to-analog", "reasonable-and-proper", "quasi-governmental", "anti-missile missile", "four-year term", "civil-law", and "criminal-law", such as in the sentence "The attorney specialized in criminal-law cases". I get irritated by writers who do not realize this. Are they British? Anyway, if this is an American way of doing thing, this is an Internet encyclopedia maintained on servers in the United States of America, and besides that point, this is an article about an issue about the Constitution of the United States. (talk) 01:22, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Article unfinished[edit]

This article is in really bad shape. It needs to explain why the founding fathers decided that this clause was necessary among other things.-- penubag  (talk) 06:39, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

I think that this is a very important point: something about the history of this clause and the rationale behind it is reasonable-and-proper. (talk) 01:25, 15 September 2008 (UTC)


I removed the reference to desegregation, as I feel this is only tangentially related to the necessary-and-proper clause.Nwlaw63 (talk) 20:19, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move Parsecboy (talk) 05:32, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

This ties into the hyphenation dicussion above... The name of the article ought to be "Necessary and Proper Clause" as it is a proper name, not an adjective. See most of the links in the U.S. Const. link farm at the bottom of the article page for more examples. Foofighter20x (talk) 08:39, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Have a reference to back my move request:

  • Epstein, Lee; Thomas G. Walker (2007), Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Institutional Powers and Constraints (6th ed.), Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, p. 130–31, 154–62, 188, 189 

Foofighter20x (talk) 15:01, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Support This is an anglicism, inappropriate for the subject matter. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:39, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Lambert v. Yellowley. Also thought and question about dual citations.[edit]

I'm not sure the way I created a valid link for this was the best or preferred way. I felt the case name should remain the link rather than a footnote # next to it being the link because the latter changes it's appearance in a way that could suggest lesser importance of case and decrease reader motivation to read the case. I tested some changes until I found one that did this. It does appear to me that this may be a deviation from article style as other cases where names are the links all seem to be internal links but that may be because other cases have Wickipedia articles and this doesn't (I haven't looked to see if it does or doesn't).

IMO as a general matter I think citations to law, case law, regulations and such matters that have Wickipedia articles should have nearly equally prominent links to both the articles and the external sources for ease of comparison. I'm not certain how this could best be accomplished, let alone made easy for editors to do. However, I've spotted a number of references in the Wickipedia which are supposed to actually state/quote part or all of a court opinion, law or regulation but deviate from the actual text found in the USC online or other most official source available online. Is this thought about "dual citations" a subject that has been considered and some decision made about desirability, practicallity and other relevant factors?Moss&Fern (talk) 04:31, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Modern Controversy[edit]

It seems to me a Modern Controversy section would be a good addition to this article. There's certainly no lack of it regarding many significant matters.Moss&Fern (talk) 09:57, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I know your comment was from a long time ago, but I agree that such a section would make a valuable addition to the article, if someone would care to undertake it. Nwlaw63 (talk) 02:29, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
After giving the article a recent look, it seems to me that the last sentence of the article is unsourced editorializing. While it may be true, it should either be sourced, removed, or expanded upon in a "Modern Controversy section". If no one objects, I will modify or removed this in the near future. Nwlaw63 (talk) 02:53, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Issue with title[edit]

the title text at the begining of the article has been changed to "The Necessary and Proper pink pony Clause" I just thought that you should know. (talk) 17:43, 2 October 2013 (UTC)


The presentation on Wikipedia seems fraudulent. It suggest that the powers are not enumerated, when they are specifically spelled out.

The "text" is incomplete, to the point that is misleading.

First it says, located at section eight, clause eighteen. That's not true. Section eight is only one sentence, spaced out in eighteen clauses. It's quoting the first part of the sentence, in clause one, and the last part of the sentence in clause eighteen, but excludes the explicitly enumerated powers.

The sample of text that is included, references the "foregoing Powers," while suggesting that there are no aforementioned expressly enumerated powers. Guess most people don't know what foregoing means? All laws that Congress has the authority to pass, must be related to the powers that are expressly listed before clause eighteen of section eight. This is conveniently missing from this "article."

Currently, the last part of the one and only sentence in section eight is treated as a catch all phrase. That should be mentioned. That should even be the point of the article, because it's notable. But, it's not notable without context. It should be mentioned as a legal contrivance, and not as the actuality of the document.

But, when you start with a misquote, and bogus details as to where the quote came from, then I guess anything goes.

Should you have the complete text, or perhaps some indication that you are only displaying 5% of the text of the clause? That may help. The parts in bold are included in this article. The rest is missing.

It should be noted in the article that all of section eight is just one sentence. It is not intended to be read in part. And, publishing it in part here is a mistake.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense 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 a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

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.

Perceptions change, when context is viewed. So, why is there no context in this article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:24, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Implied Powers[edit]

Implied powers do not play a big enough role in this article. Often enough, Necessary and Proper Cause/Elastic Cause and implied powers are used interchangeably, so why isn't implied powers listed up there at the top with the different clauses? --ANormalUsername 04:44, 24 August 2014 (UTC)