The article in its entirety:
If you had any doubts about the level of historical and legal ignorance, not to mention arrogance, among our feckless leaders, I give you Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter representing the 1st District of New Hampshire:
Caller Dennis from Manchester asked Shea-Porter during a broadcast on WGIR radio, “I just wanted to know where it says in the Constitution that the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party for that matter, can pretty much do what they’re trying to do?”
“I would point out to you that in the Constitution it also does not say the government can build roads or should build roads,” Shea-Porter replied. “It also doesn’t say the government should make sure the drugs are safe. It doesn’t say the government should look at airplanes to make sure they are safe to get on. It doesn’t say we should have a police force in Manchester.”
“So, the Constitution did not cover everything,” Shea-Porter concluded.
Well, Congresswoman, let me introduce you to Article I, Section 8. That’s the part of the Constitution that sets forth the powers that Congress, and by extension the entire Federal Government, actually has. After you’ve read that, I’d suggest taking look at the Tenth Amendment: “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.”
That means that if the Constitution doesn’t say that Congress can do, then Congress can’t do it, and that such powers are left to the states to exercise, or to the people themselves. And, if the Constitution doesn’t “cover” something in the sense that it doesn’t specifically authorize it, that means that Congress can’t do it.
While you’re there take a glance up at the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
That means that the fact that a right isn’t specifically listed in the Constitution doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
Now about those examples of yours…….
Creating roads, regulating drugs, and ensuring airline safety can pretty easily be seen to be exercises of Congressional authority under the Interstate Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8. With respect to roads, it’s worth noting that Section 8 also specifically authorizes the creation of “post roads,” although it would admittedly be stretching that particular provision of the Constitution beyond it’s reasonable limits.
As for the last one, a police force for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire isn’t “covered” by the Constitution because it’s something that Congress has absolutely no authority over, that’s something that falls under the general police powers that the States retained under the Tenth Amendment.
As a Representative from one of the original Thirteen Colonies, one would think that Porter would have the intelligence and historical memory that even a 5th Grader would have about the basic structure of our government. Although, given how dishonorably Congress has acted over the years when it comes to respecting the limits on it’s power, I can’t say that I’m at all surprised or that I think that Porter’s attitude is all that uncommon.