Ep. 3: Congress, or Who Killed Our Government of Limited Powers?

This week, The Naked Constitution podcast lays bare the powers of Congress. Adam is joined by Professor Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law School (one of the principal architects of the legal challenge to ObamaCare), as well as our own Dr. Paul Rahe, Distinguished Professor of History at Hillsdale College.

In this episode – recorded before the ObamaCare decision was handed down – Professor Barnett previews the successful argument that the individual mandate is not within Congress’s Commerce Clause jurisdiction (the Court agreed – but little did we know that the Chief Justice would buy the administration’s argument that the mandate sometimes is and sometimes isn’t a tax). In a whirlwind history lesson, Dr. Rahe explains why the Framers vested Congress with limited powers, and Professor Barnett explains how the Supreme Court came to rewrite Article One – without the mess and inconvenience of actual amendments.

Pre-order Adam’s book, The Naked Constitution here

You can subscribe to this podcast by following the instructions here. Direct link fans, click here.


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  1. ShellGamer

    Best podcast to date. If you set the bar here, this will be a great series. Would have liked to hear about whether the Preamble implicitly gives Congress any powers.

  2. Duane Oyen

    Unless I am missing something, the direct link file is 231 bytes (I tried twice).   Amazing digital  compression!

    Edit: Third time is a charm!  Got it now.

  3. Cesar

    Absolutely riveting.

  4. John Walker

    It’s a minor thing, but could you settle on whether the MP3 files are called “the-naked-constitution…” or “naked-constitution…”?  For those of us who organise these by file name, it’s a lot easier if all episodes of a given podcast begin with the same prefix.

  5. Garrett Petersen

    Wonderful.  This was a terrific episode.  I can’t wait to hear for Yoo and Hanson next time.

  6. John Walker: It’s a minor thing, but could you settle on whether the MP3 files are called “the-naked-constitution…” or “naked-constitution…”?  For those of us who organise these by file name, it’s a lot easier if all episodes of a given podcast begin with the same prefix. · 2 hours ago

    They will be named the-naked-constitution-episode-x.mp3 from here on out. 

  7. Chuck Enfield

    Thank you for doing this series.  It’s has been entertaining and informative.  While all three episodes have been wonderful, this one is the best yet.

  8. Stands and Waits

    This is one of the best episodes of any podcast I’ve heard on the site. (And I have heard some amazing episodes from some amazing podcasts here.)

  9. Crabby Appleton
    Thatcher

    After the flagship p-cast this one is my absolute favorite!  Listening to the guests explain the meanings of the Constitution is like listening to Biblical exegesis, always fascinating and deeply informative.  But then the Constitution is like a sacred text, innit?

    One question I have, raised by Professor Rahe’s explanation of the rationale for a federal design of the government, and one that perhaps you can explore in a future program at the appropriate time, is  are we still a federal republic except in name only?  Do the states have any real power, or have they devolved into just regional administrative bodies subordinate to the national government in issues that matter?


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