Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies by Joseph Story

Joseph Story 1Who Is The Final Judge or Interpreter in Constitutional Controversies:
JOSEPH STORY was born on September 18, 1779, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1798. Story read law in the offices of two Marblehead attorneys and was admitted to the bar in 1801. He established a law practice in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1805, Story served one term in the Massachusetts Legislature, and in 1808 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. After one term, he returned to the Massachusetts Lower House, and in 1811 he was elected Speaker. On November 18, 1811, President James Madison nominated Story to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on February 3, 1812. At the age of thirty-two, Story was the youngest person ever appointed to the Supreme Court. While on the Supreme Court, Story served as a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1820 and was a Professor of Law at Harvard, where he wrote a series of nine commentaries on the law, each of which was published in several editions. Story served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years. He died on September 10, 1845, at the age of sixty-five.

§ 373. THE consideration of the question, whether the constitution has made provision for any common arbiter to construe its powers and obligations, would properly find a place in the analysis of the different clauses of that instrument. But, as it is immediately connected with the subject before us, it seems expedient in this place to give it a deliberate attention.1

§ 374. In order to clear the question of all minor points, which might embarrass us in the discussion, it is necessary to suggest a few preliminary remarks. The constitution, contemplating the grant of limited powers, and distributing them among various functionaries, and the state governments, and their functionaries, being also clothed with limited powers, subordinate to those granted to the general government, whenever any question arises, as to the exercise of any power by any of these functionaries under the state, or federal government, it is of necessity, that such functionaries must, in the first instance, decide upon the constitutionality of the exercise of such power.2 It may arise in the course of the discharge of the functions of any one, or of all, of the great departments of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The officers of each of these departments are equally bound by their oaths of office to support the constitution of the United States, and are therefore conscientiously bound to abstain from all acts, which are inconsistent with it. Whenever, therefore, they are required to act in a case, not hitherto settled by any proper authority, these functionaries must, in the first instance, decide, each for himself, whether, consistently with the constitution, the act can be done. If, for instance, the president is required to do any act, he is not only authorized, but required, to decide for himself, whether, consistently with his constitutional duties, he can do the act.3 So, if a proposition be before congress, every member of the legislative body is bound to examine, and decide for himself, whether the bill or resolution is within the constitutional reach of the legislative powers confided to congress. And in many cases the decisions of the executive and legislative departments, thus made, become final and conclusive, being from their very nature and character incapable of revision. Thus, in measures exclusively of a political, legislative, or executive character, it is plain, that as the supreme authority, as to these questions, belongs to the legislative and executive departments, they cannot be re-examined elsewhere. Thus, congress having the power to declare war, to levy taxes, to appropriate money, to regulate intercourse and commerce with foreign nations, their mode of executing these powers can never become the subject of reexamination in any other tribunal. So the power to make treaties being confided to the president and senate, when a treaty is properly ratified, it becomes the law of the land, and no other tribunal can gainsay its stipulations. Yet cases may readily be imagined, in which a tax may be laid, or a treaty made, upon motives and grounds wholly beside the intention of the constitution.4 The remedy, however, in such cases is solely by an appeal to the people at the elections; or by the salutary power of amendment, provided by the constitution itself.5

§ 375. But, where the question is of a different nature, and capable of judicial inquiry and decision, there it admits of a very different consideration. The decision then made, whether in favour, or against the constitutionality of the act, by the state, or by the national authority, by the legislature, or by the executive, being capable, in its own nature, of being brought to the test of the constitution, is subject to judicial revision. It is in such cases, as we conceive, that there is a final and common arbiter provided by the constitution itself, to whose decisions all others are subordinate; and that arbiter is the supreme judicial authority of the courts of the Union.6

§ 376. Let us examine the grounds, on which this doctrine is maintained. The constitution declares, (Art. 6,) that “This constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties, etc. shall be the supreme law of the land.” It also declares, (Art. 3,) that “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties made, and which shall be made under their authority.” It further declares, ( Art. 3,) that the judicial power of the United States “shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts, as the congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish.” Here, then, we have express, and determinate provisions upon the very subject. Nothing is imperfect, and nothing is left to implication. The constitution is the supreme law; the judicial power extends to all cases arising in law and equity under it; and the courts of the United States are, and, in the last resort, the Supreme Court of the United States is, to be vested with this judicial power. No man can doubt or deny, that the power to construe the constitution is a judicial power.7 The power to construe a treaty is clearly so, when the case arises in judgment in a controversy between individuals.8 The like principle must apply, where the meaning of the constitution arises in a judicial controversy; for it is an appropriate function of the judiciary to construe laws.9 If, then, a case under the constitution does arise, if it is capable of judicial examination and decision, we see, that the very tribunal is appointed to make the decision. The only point left open for controversy is, whether such decision, when made, is conclusive and binding upon the states, and the people of the states. The reasons, why it should be so deemed, will now be submitted.

§ 377. In the first place, the judicial power of the United States rightfully extending to all such cases, its judgment becomes ipso facto conclusive between the parties before it, in respect to the points decided, unless some mode be pointed out by the constitution, in which that judgment may be revised. No such mode is pointed out. Congress is vested with ample authority to provide for the exercise by the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction from the decisions of all inferior tribunals, whether state or national, in cases within the purview of the judicial power of the United States; but no mode is provided, by which any superior tribunal can re-examine, what the Supreme Court has itself decided. Ours is emphatically a government of laws, and not of men; and judicial decisions of the highest tribunal, by the known course of the common law, are considered, as establishing the true construction of the laws, which are brought into controversy before it. The case is not alone considered as decided and settled; but the principles of the decision are held, as precedents and authority, to bind future cases of the same nature. This is the constant practice under our whole system of jurisprudence. Our ancestors brought it with them, when they first emigrated to this country; and it is, and always has been considered, as the great security of our rights, our liberties, and our property. It is on this account, that our law is justly deemed certain, and founded in permanent principles, and not dependent upon the caprice, or will of particular judges. A more alarming doctrine could not be promulgated by any American court, than that it was at liberty to disregard all former rules and decisions, and to decide for itself, without reference to the settled course of antecedent principles.

§ 378. This known course of proceeding, this settled habit of thinking, this conclusive effect of judicial adjudications, was in the full view of the framers of the constitution. It was required, and enforced in every state in the Union; and a departure from it would have been justly deemed an approach to tyranny and arbitrary power, to the exercise of mete discretion, and to the abandonment of all the just checks upon judicial authority. It would seem impossible, then, to presume, if the people intended to introduce a new rule in respect to the decisions of the Supreme Court, and to limit the nature and operations of their judgments in a manner wholly unknown to the common law, and to our existing jurisprudence, that some indication of that intention should not be apparent on the face of the constitution. We find, (Art. 4,) that the constitution has declared, that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the judicial proceedings of every other state. But no like provision has been made in respect to the judgments of the courts of the United States, because they were plainly supposed to be of paramount and absolute obligation throughout all the states. If the judgments of the Supreme Court upon constitutional questions are conclusive and binding upon the citizens at large, must they not be equally conclusive upon the states? If the states are parties to that instrument, are not the people of the states also parties?

§ 379. It has been said, “that however true it may be, that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the other departments of the government, not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial, as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert for ever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very constitution, which all were instituted to preserve.”10 Now, it is certainly possible, that all the departments of a government may conspire to subvert the constitution of that government, by which they are created. But if they should so conspire, there would still remain an adequate remedy to redress the evil. In the first place, the people, by the exercise of the elective franchise, can easily check and remedy any dangerous, palpable, and deliberate infraction of the constitution in two of the great departments of government; and, in the third department, they can remove the judges, by impeachment, for any corrupt conspiracies. Besides these ordinary remedies, there is a still more extensive one, embodied in the form of the constitution, by the power of amending it, which is always in the power of three fourths of the states. It is a supposition not to be endured for a moment, that three fourths of the states would conspire in any deliberate, dangerous, and palpable breach of the constitution. And if the judicial department alone should attempt any usurpation, congress, in its legislative capacity, has full power to abrogate the injurious effects of such a decision. Practically speaking, therefore, there can be very little danger of any such usurpation or deliberate breach.

§ 380. But it is always a doubtful mode of reasoning to argue from the possible abuse of powers, that they do not exist.11 Let us look for a moment at the consequences, which flow from the doctrine on the other side. There are now twenty-four states in the Union, and each has, in its sovereign capacity, a right to decide for itself in the last resort, what is the true construction of the constitution; what are its powers; and what are the obligations founded on it. We may, then, have, in the free exercise of that right, twentyfour honest, but different expositions of every power in that constitution, and of every obligation involved in it. What one state may deny, another may assert; what one may assert at one time, it may deny at another time. This is not mere supposition. It has, in point of fact, taken place. There never has been a single constitutional question agitated, where different states, if they have expressed any opinion, have not expressed different opinions; and there have been, and, from the fluctuating nature of legislative bodies, it may be supposed? that there will continue to be, cases, in which the same state will at different times hold different opinions on the same question. Massachusetts at one time thought the embargo of 1807 unconstitutional; at another a majority, from the change of parties, was as decidedly the other way. Virginia, in 1810, thought that the Supreme Court was the common arbiter; in 1829 she thought differently.12 What, then, is to become of the constitution, if its powers are thus perpetually to be the subject of debate and controversy? What exposition is to be allowed to be of authority? Is the exposition of one state to be of authority there, and the reverse to be of authority in a neighbouring state, entertaining an opposite exposition? Then, there would be at no time in the United States the same constitution in operation over the whole people. Is a power, which is doubted, or denied by a single state, to be suspended either wholly, or in that state? Then, the constitution is practically gone, as a uniform system, or indeed, as any system at all, at the pleasure of any state. If the power to nullify the constitution exists in a single state, it may rightfully exercise it at its pleasure. Would not this be a far more dangerous and mischievous power, than a power granted by all the states to the judiciary to construe the constitution? Would not a tribunal, appointed under the authority of all, be more safe, than twenty-four tribunals acting at their own pleasure, and upon no common principles and cooperation? Suppose congress should declare war; shall one state have power to suspend it? Suppose congress should make peace; shall one state have power to involve the whole country in war? Suppose the president and senate should make a treaty; shall one state declare it a nullity, or subject the whole country to reprisals for refusing to obey it? Yet, if every state may for itself judge of its obligations under the constitution, it may disobey a particular law or treaty, because it may deem it an unconstitutional exercise of power, although every other state shall concur in a contrary opinion. Suppose congress should lay a tax upon imports burthensome to a particular state, or for purposes, which such state deems unconstitutional, and yet all the other states are in its favour; is the law laying the tax to become a nullity? That would be to allow one state to withdraw a power from the Union, which was given by the people of all the states. That would be to make the general government the servant of twenty-four masters, of different wills and different purposes, and yet bound to obey them all.13

§ 381. The argument, therefore, arising from a possibility of an abuse of power, is, to say the least of it, quite as strong the other way. The constitution is in quite as perilous a state from the power of overthrowing it lodged in every state in the Union, as it can be by being lodged in any department of the federal government. There is this difference, however, in the cases, that if there be federal usurpation, it may be checked by the people of all the states in a constitutional way. If there be usurpation by a single state, it is, upon the theory we are considering, irremediable. Other difficulties, however, attend the reasoning we are considering. When it is said, that the decision of the Supreme Court in the last resort is obligatory, and final “in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government,” is it meant of the federal government only, or of the states also? If of the former only, then the constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land, although all the state functionaries are bound by ah oath to support it. If of the latter also, then it is obligatory upon the state legislatures, executives, and judiciaries. It binds them; and yet it does not bind the people of the states, or the states in their sovereign capacity. The states may maintain one construction of it, and the functionaries of the state are bound by another. If, on the other hand, the state functionaries are to follow the construction of the state, in opposition to the construction of the Supreme Court, then the constitution, as actually administered by the different functionaries, is different; and the duties required of them may be opposite, and in collision with each other. If such a state of things is the just result of the reasoning, may it not justly be suspected, that the reasoning itself is unsound?

§ 382. Again; it is a part of this argument, that the judicial interpretation is not binding “in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact.” “On any other hypothesis the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it.” Who then are the parties to this contract? Who did delegate the judicial power? Let the instrument answer for itself. The people of the United States are the parties to the constitution. The people of the United States delegated the judicial rower. It was not a delegation by the people of one state, but by the people of all the states. Why then is not a judicial decision binding in each state, until all, who delegated the power, in some constitutional manner concur in annulling or overruling the decision? Where shall we find the clause, which gives the power to each state to construe the constitution for all; and thus of itself to supersede in its own favour the construction of all the rest? Would not this be justly deemed a delegation of judicial power, which would annul the authority delegating it?14 Since the whole people of the United States have concurred in establishing the constitution, it would seem most consonant with reason to presume, in the absence of all contrary stipulations, that they did not mean, that its obligatory force should depend upon the dictate or opinion of any single state. Even under the confederation, (as has been already stated,) it was unanimously resolved by congress, that “as state legislatures are not competent to the making of such compacts or treaties, [with foreign states,] so neither are they competent in that capacity authoritatively to decide on, or ascertain the construction and sense of them.” And the reasoning, by which this opinion is supported, seems absolutely unanswerable.15

If this was true under such an instrument, and that construction was avowed before the whole American people, and brought home to the knowledge of the state legislatures, how can we avoid the inference, that under the constitution, where an express judicial power in cases arising under the constitution was provided for, the people must have understood and intended, that the states should have no right to question, or control such judicial interpretation?

§ 383. In the next place, as the judicial power extends to all cases arising under the constitution, and that constitution is declared to be the supreme law, that supremacy would naturally he construed to extend, not only over the citizens, but over the states.16 This, however, is not left to implication, for it is declared to be the supreme law of the land, “any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” The people of any state cannot, then, by any alteration of their state constitution, destroy, or impair that supremacy. How, then, can they do it in any other less direct manner? Now, it is the proper function of the judicial department to interpret laws, and by the very terms of the constitution to interpret the supreme law. Its interpretation, then, becomes obligatory and conclusive upon all the departments of the federal government, and upon the whole people, so far as their rights and duties are derived from, or affected by that constitution. If then all the departments of the national government may rightfully exercise all the powers, which the judicial department has, by its interpretation, declared to be granted by the constitution; and are prohibited from exercising those, which are thus declared not to be granted by it, would it not be a solecism to hold, notwithstanding, that such rightful exercise should not be deemed the supreme law of the land, and such prohibited powers should still be deemed granted? It would seem repugnant to the first notions of justice, that in respect to the same instrument of government, different powers, and duties, and obligations should arise, and different rules should prevail, at the same time among the governed, from a right of interpreting the same words (manifestly used in one sense only) in different, nay, in opposite senses. If there ever was a case, in which uniformity of interpretation might well be deemed a necessary postulate, it would seem to be that of a fundamental law of a government. It might otherwise follow, that the same individual, as a magistrate, might be bound by one rule, and in his private capacity by another, at the very same moment.

§ 384. There would be neither wisdom nor policy in such a doctrine; and it would deliver over the constitution to interminable doubts, founded upon the fluctuating opinions and characters of those, who should, from time to time, be called to administer it. Such a constitution could, in no just sense, be deemed a law, much less a supreme or fundamental law. It would have none of the certainty or universality, which are the proper attributes of such a sovereign rule. It would entail upon us all the miserable servitude, which has been deprecated, as the result of vague and uncertain jurisprudence. Misera est servitus, ubi jus est vagum aut incertum. It would subject us to constant dissensions, and perhaps to civil broils, from the perpetually recurring conflicts upon constitutional questions. On the other hand, the worst, that could happen from a wrong decision of the judicial department, would be, that it might require the interposition of congress, or, in the last resort, of the amendatory power of the states, to redress the grievance.

§ 385. We find the power to construe the constitution expressly confided to the judicial department, without any limitation or qualification, as to its conclusiveness. Who, then, is at liberty, by general implications, not from the terms of the instrument, but from mere theory, and assumed reservations of sovereign right, to insert such a limitation or qualification? We find, that to produce uniformity of interpretation, and to preserve the constitution, as a perpetual bond of union, a supreme arbiter or authority of construing is, if not absolutely indispensable, at least, of the highest possible practical utility and importance. Who, then, is at liberty to reason down the terms of the constitution, so as to exclude their natural force and operation?

§ 386. We find, that it is the known course of the judicial department of the several states to decide in the last resort upon all constitutional questions arising in judgment; and that this has always been maintained as a rightful exercise of authority, and conclusive upon the whole state.17 As such, it has been constantly approved by the people, and never withdrawn from the courts by any amendment of their constitutions, when the people have been called to revise them. We find, that the people of the several states have constantly relied upon this last judicial appeal, as the bulwark of their state rights and liberties; and that it is in perfect consonance with the whole structure of the jurisprudence of the common law. Under such circumstances, is it not most natural to presume, that the same rule was intended to be applied to the constitution of the United States? And when we find, that the judicial department of the United States is actually entrusted with a like power, is it not an irresistible presumption, that it had the same object, and was to have the same universally conclusive effect? Even under the confederation, an instrument framed with infinitely more jealousy and deference for state rights, the judgments of the judicial department appointed to decide controversies between states was declared to be final and conclusive; and the appellate power in other cases was held to overrule all state decisions and state legislation.18

§ 387. If, then, reasoning from the terms of the constitution, and the known principles of our jurisprudence, the appropriate conclusion is, that the judicial department of the United States is, in the last resort, the final expositor of the constitution, as to all questions of a judicial nature; let us see, in the next place, how far this reasoning acquires confirmation from the past history of the constitution, and the practice under it.

§ 388. That this view of the constitution was taken by its framers and friends, and was submitted to the people before its adoption, is positively certain. The Federalist 19 says, “Under the national government, treaties and articles of treaties as well as the law of nations, will always be expounded in one sense, and executed in the same manner; whereas, adjudications on the same points and questions in thirteen states, or three or four confederacies, will not always accord, or be consistent; and that as well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by different and independent governments, as from the different local laws, which may affect and influence them. The wisdom of the convention in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and judgment of courts appointed by, and responsible only to, one national government, cannot be too much commended.” Again, referring to the objection taken, that the government was national, and not a confederacy of sovereign states, and after stating, that the jurisdiction of the national government extended to certain enumerated objects only, and left the residue to the several states, it proceeds to say:20 “It is true, that in controversies between the two jurisdictions (state and national) the tribunal, which is ultimately to decide, is to be established under the general government. But this does not change the principle of the case. The decision is to be impartially made according to the rules of the constitution, and all the usual and most effectual precautions are taken to secure this impartiality. Some such tribunal is clearly essential to prevent an appeal to the sword, and a dissolution of the compact. And that it ought to be established under the general, rather than under the local governments, or, to speak more properly, that it could be safely established under the first alone, is a position not likely to be combated.”21

§ 389. The subject is still more elaborately considered in another number,22 which treats of the judicial department in relation to the extent of its powers. It is there said, that there ought always to be a constitutional method of giving efficacy to constitutional provisions; that if there are such things as political axioms, the propriety of the judicial department of a government being coextensive with its legislature, may be ranked among the number;23 that the mere necessity of uniformity in the interpretation of the national law decides the question; that thirteen independent courts of final jurisdiction over the same causes is a hydra of government, from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed; that controversies between the nation and its members can only, be properly referred to the national tribunal; that the peace of the whole ought not to be left at the disposal of a part; and that whatever practices may have a tendency to disturb the harmony of the states, are proper objects of federal superintendence and control.24

§ 390. The same doctrine was constantly avowed in the state conventions, called to ratify the constitution. With some persons it formed a strong objection to the constitution; with others it was deemed vital to its existence and value.25 So, that it is indisputable, that the constitution was adopted under a full knowledge of this exposition of its grant of power to the judicial department.26

§ 391. This is not all. The constitution has now been in full operation more than forty years; and during this period the Supreme Court has constantly exercised this power of final interpretation in relation, not only to the constitution, and laws of the Union, but in relation to state acts and state constitutions and laws, so far as they affected the constitution, and laws, and treaties of the United States.27 Their decisions upon these grave questions have never been repudiated, or impaired by congress.28 No state has ever deliberately or forcibly resisted the execution of the judgments founded upon them; and the highest state tribunals have, with scarcely a single exception, acquiesced in, and, in most instances, assisted in executing them.29 During the same period, eleven states have been admitted into the Union, under a full persuasion, that the same power would be exerted over them. Many of the states have, at different times within the same period, been called upon to consider, and examine the grounds, on which the doctrine has been maintained, at the solicitation of other states which felt, that it operated injuriously, or might operate injuriously upon their interests. A great majority of the states, which have been thus called upon in their legislative capacities to express opinions, have maintained the correctness of the doctrine, and the beneficial effects of the powers, as a bond of union, in terms of the most unequivocal nature.30 Whenever any amendment has been proposed to change the tribunal, and substitute another common umpire or interpreter, it has rarely received the concurrence of more than two or three states, and has been uniformly rejected by a great majority, either silently, or by an express dissent. And instances have occurred, in which the legislature of the same state has, at different times, avowed opposite opinions, approving at one time, what it had denied, or at least questioned at another. So, that it may be asserted with entire confidence, that for forty years three fourths of all the states composing the Union have expressly assented to, or silently approved, this construction of the constitution, and have resisted every effort to restrict, or alter it. A weight of public opinion among the people for such a period, uniformly thrown into one scale so strongly, and so decisively, in the midst of all the extraordinary changes of parties, the events of peace and of war, and the trying conflicts of public policy and state interests, is perhaps unexampled in the history of all other free governments.31 It affords, as satisfactory a testimony in favour of the just and safe operation of the system, as can well be imagined; and, as a commentary upon the constitution itself, it is as absolutely conclusive, as any ever can be, and affords the only escape from the occurrence of civil conflicts, and the delivery over of the subject to interminable disputes.32

§ 392. In this review of the power of the judicial department, upon a question of its supremacy in the interpretation of the constitution, it has not been thought necessary to rely on the deliberate judgments of that department in affirmance of it. But it may be proper to add that the judicial department has not only constantly exercised this right of interpretation in the last resort; but its whole course of reasonings and operation has proceeded upon the ground, that, once made, the interpretation was conclusive, as well upon the states, as the people.33

§ 393. But it may be asked, as it has been asked, what is to be the remedy, if there be any misconstruction of the constitution on the part of the government of the United States, or its functionaries, and any powers exercised by them, not warranted by its true meaning? To this question a general answer may be given in the words of its early expositors: “The same, as if the state legislatures should violate their respective constitutional authorities.” In the first instance, if this should be by congress, “the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound, and give effect to the legislative acts; and, in the last resort, a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers. The truth is, that this ultimate redress may be more confided in against unconstitutional acts of the federal, than of the state legislatures, for this plain reason, that, as every act of the former will be an invasion of the rights of the latter, these will ever be ready to mark the innovation, to sound the alarm to the people, and to exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal representatives. There being no such intermediate body between the state legislatures and the people, interested in watching the conduct of the former, violations of the state constitution are more likely to remain unnoticed and unredressed.”34

§ 394. In the next place, if the usurpation should be by the president, an adequate check may be generally found, not only in the elective franchise, but also in the controlling power of congress, in its legislative or impeaching capacity, and in an appeal to the judicial department. In the next place, if the usurpation should be by the judiciary, and arise from corrupt motives, the power of impeachment would remove the offenders; and in most other cases the legislative and executive authorities could interpose an efficient barrier. A declaratory or prohibitory law would, in many cases, be a complete remedy. We have, also, so far at least as a conscientious sense of the obligations of duty, sanctioned by an oath of office, and an indissoluble responsibility to the people for the exercise and abuse of power, on the part of different departments of the government, can influence human minds, some additional guards against known and deliberate usurpations; for both are provided for in the constitution itself. “The wisdom and the discretion of congress, (it has been justly observed,) their identity with the people, and the influence, which their constituents possess at elections, are, in this, as in many other instances, as, for example, that of declaring, war; the sole restraints; on this they have relied, to secure them from abuse. They are the restraints, on which the people must often solely rely in all representative governments.”35

§ 395. But in the next place, (and it is that, which would furnish a case of most difficulty and danger, though it may fairly be presumed to be of rare occurrence,) if the legislature, executive, and judicial departments should all concur in a gross usurpation, there is still a peaceable remedy provided by the constitution. It is by the power of amendment, which may always be applied at the will of three fourths of the states. If, therefore, there should be a corrupt cooperation of three fourths of the states for permanent usurpation, (a case not to be supposed, or if supposed, it differs not at all in principle or redress from the case of a majority of a state or nation having the same intent,) the case is certainly irremediable under any known forms of the constitution. The states may now by a constitutional amendment, with few limitations, change the whole structure and powers of the government, and thus legalize any present excess of power. And the general right of a society in other cases to change the government at the will of a majority of the whole people, in any manner, that may suit its pleasure, is undisputed, and seems indisputable. If there be any remedy at all for the minority in such cases, it is a remedy never provided for by human institutions. It is by a resort to the ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice.36

§ 396. As a fit conclusion to this part of these commentaries, we cannot do better than to refer to a confirmatory view, which has been recently presented to the public by one of the framers of the constitution, who is now, it is believed, the only surviving member of the federal convention, and who, by his early as well as his later labours, has entitled himself to the gratitude of his country, as one of its truest patriots, and most enlightened friends. Venerable, as he now is, from age and character, and absolved from all those political connexions, which may influence the judgment, and mislead the mind, he speaks from his retirement in a voice, which cannot be disregarded, when it instructs us by its profound reasoning, or admonishes us of our dangers by its searching appeals. However particular passages may seem open to criticism, the general structure of the argument stands on immovable foundations, and can scarcely perish, but with the constitution, which it seeks to uphold.37

Footnotes:
1.    The point was very strongly argued, and much considered, in the case of Cohens v. Virginia, in the Supreme Court in 1821, (6 Wheat. R. 264.) The whole argument, as well as the judgment, deserves an attentive reading. The result, to which the argument against the existence of a common arbiter leads, is presented in a very forcible manner by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in pages 376, 377.

“The questions presented to the court by the two first points made at the bar are of great magnitude, and may be truly said vitally to affect the Union. They exclude the inquiry, whether the constitution and laws of the United States have been violated by the judgment, which the plaintiffs in error seek to review; and maintain, that, admitting such violation, it is not in the power of the government to apply a corrective. They maintain, that the nation does not possess a department capable of restraining peaceably, and by authority of law, any attempts, which maybe made by a part against the legitimate powers of the whole; and that the government is reduced to the alternative of submitting to such attempts, or of resisting them by force. They maintain, that the constitution of the United States has provided no tribunal for the final construction of itself, or of the laws or treaties of the nation; but that this power may be exercised in the last resort by the courts of every state in the Union. That the constitution, laws, and treaties, may receive as many constructions, as there are states; and that this is not a mischief, or, if a mischief, is irremediable. These abstract propositions are to be determined; for he, who demands decision without permitting inquiry, affirms, that the decision he asks does not depend on inquiry.

“If such be the constitution, it is the duty of this court to bow with respectful submission to its provisions. If such be not the constitution, it is equally the duty of this court to say so; and to perform that task, which the American people have assigned to the judicial department.”

2.    See the Federalist, No. 33.
3.    Mr. Jefferson carries his doctrine much farther, and holds, that each department of government has an exclusive right, independent of the judiciary, to decide for itself, as to the true construction of the constitution. ” My construction,” says he, ” is very different from that, you quote. It is, that each department of the government is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself, what is the meaning of the constitution in the laws submitted to its action, and especially, when it is to act ultimately and without appeal.” And he proceeds to give examples, in which he disregarded, when president, the decisions of the judiciary, and refers to the alien and sedition laws, and the case of Marbury v. Madison, (1 Cranch, 137.) 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 316, 317. See also 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 27; Id. 75; Id. 372, 374.
4.    See 4 Elliot’s Debates, 315 to 320.
5.    The Federalist, No. 44. — Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Report of Jan. 1800, has gone into a consideration of this point, and very properly suggested, that there may be infractions of the constitution not within the reach of the judicial power, or capable of remedial redress through the instrumentality of courts of law. But we cannot agree with him, that in such cases, each state may take the construction of the constitution into its own hands, and decide for itself in the last resort; much less, that in a case of judicial cognizance, the decision is not binding on the states. See Report p. 6, 7, 8, 9.
6.    Dane’s App. §44, 45, p. 52 to 59. — It affords me very sincere gratification to quote the following passage from the learned Commentaries of Mr. Chancellor Kent, than whom very few judges in our country are more profoundly versed in constitutional law. After enumerating the judicial powers in the constitution, he proceeds to observe: “The propriety and fitness of these judicial powers seem to result, as a necessary consequence, from the union of these states in one national government, and they may be considered as requisite to its existence. The judicial power in every government must be co-extensive with the power of legislation. Were there no power to interpret, pronounce, and execute the law, the government would either perish through its own imbecility, as was the case with the old confederation, or other powers must be assumed by the legislative body to the destruction of liberty.” 1 Kent’s Comm. (2d ed. p. 296,) Lect. 14, 277.
7.    4 Dane’s Abridg. ch. 187. art. 20, §15, p. 590; Dane’s App. §42, p. 49, 50; §44, p. 52, 53; 1 Wilson’s Lectures, 461, 462, 463.
8.    See Address of Congress, Feb. 1787; Journals of Congress, p. 33; Rawle on the Constitution, App. 2, p. 316.
9.    Bacon’s Abridgment, Statute. H.
10.    Madison’s Virginia Report, Jan. 1800, p. 8, 9.
11.    See Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheaton’s R. 204, 232.
12.    Dane’s App. §44, 45, p. 52 to 59, §54, p. 66; 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 339.
13.    Webster’s Speeches, 420; 4 Elliots Debates, 339.
14.    There is vast force in the reasoning Mr. Webster on this subject, in his great Speech on Mr. Foot’s Resolutions in the senate, in 1830, which well deserves the attention of every statesman and jurist. See 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 339, 343, 344, and Webster’s Speeches, p. 407, 408, 418, 419, 420; Id. 430, 431, 432.
15.    Journals of Congress, April 13, 1787, p. 32, etc. Rawle on the Constitution, App. 2, p. 316, etc.
16.    The Federalist, No. 33.
17.    2 Elliot’s Debates, 248, 328, 329, 395; Grimke’s Speech in 1828, p. 25, etc.; Dane’s App. § 44, 45, p. 52 to 59; Id. § 48, p. 62.
18.    Dane’s App. §52, p. 65; Penhallow v. Doane, 3 Dall. 54; Journals of Congress, 1779, Vol. 5, p. 86 to 90; 4 Cranch, 2.
19.    The Federalist, No. 3.
20.    The Federalist, No. 39.
21.    See also The Federalist, No. 33.
22.    The Federalist, No. 80.
23.    The same remarks will be found pressed with great force by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in Cohens v. Virginia, (6 Wheat. 264, 384.)
24.    In The Federalist, No. 78 and 82, the same course of reasoning is pursued, and the final nature of the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is largely insisted on. In the Convention of Connecticut, Mr. Ellsworth (afterwards Chief Justice of the United States) used the following language: “This constitution defines the extent of the powers of the general government. If the general legislature should at any time overleap their limits, the judicial department is the constitutional check. If the United States go beyond their powers; if they make a law, which the constitution does not authorize, it is void; and the judicial power, the national judges, who, to secure their impartiality, are to be made independent, will declare it void. On the other hand, if the states go beyond their limits; if they make a law, which is a usurpation upon the general government, the law is void, and upright and independent judges will declare it. Still, however, if the United States and the individual states will quarrel; if they want to fight, they may do it, and no frame of government can possibly prevent it.” In the debates in the South Carolina legislature, when the subject of calling a convention to ratify or reject the constitution was before them,* Mr. Charles Pinckney (one of the members of the convention) avowed the doctrine in the strongest terms. “That a supreme federal jurisdiction was indispensable,” said he, “cannot be denied. It is equally true, that in order to ensure the administration of justice, it was necessary to give all the powers, original as well as appellate, the constitution has enumerated. Without it we could not expect a due observance of treaties; that the state judiciaries would confine themselves within their proper sphere; or that a general sense of justice would pervade the Union, etc. That to ensure these, extensive authorities were necessary; particularly so, were they in a tribunal, constituted as this is, whose duty it would be, not only to decide all national questions, which should arise within the Union; but to control and keep the state judiciaries within their proper limits, whenever they should attempt to interfere with the power.”
*    Debates in 1788, printed by A. E. Miller, 1831, Charleston, p. 7.
25.    It would occupy too much space to quote the passages at large. Take for an instance, in the Virginia debates, Mr. Madison’s remarks. ” It may be a misfortune, that in organizing any government, the explication of its authority should be left to any of its co-ordinate branches. There is no example in any country, where it is otherwise. There is no new policy in submitting it to the judiciary of the United States.” 2 Elliot’s Debates, 390. See also Id. 380, 383, 395, 400, 404, 418. See also North Carolina Debates, 3 Elliot’s Debates, 125, 127, 128, 130, 133, 134, 139, 141, 142, 143; Pennsylvania Debates, 3 Elliot’s Debates, 280, 313. Mr. Luther Martin, in his letter to the Maryland Convention, said: ” By the third article the judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court, etc. These courts, and these only, will have a right to decide upon the laws of the United States, and all questions arising upon their construction, etc. Whether, therefore, any laws, etc. of congress, or acts of its president, etc. are contrary to, or warranted by the constitution, rests only with the judges, who are appointed by congress to determine; by whose determinations every state is bound.” 3 Elliot’s Debates, 44, 45; Yates’s Minutes, etc. See also The Federalist, No. 78.
26.    See Mr. Pinckney’s Observations cited in Grimke’s Speech in 1828, p. 86, 87.
27.    Dane’s App. §44, p. 53, 54, 55; Grimke’s Speech, 1828, p. 34 to 42.
28.    In the debate in the first congress organized under the constitution, the same doctrine was openly avowed, as indeed it has constantly been by the majority of congress at all subsequent periods. See 1 Lloyd’s Debates, 219 to 599; 2 Lloyd’s Debates, 284 to 327.
29.    Chief Justice M’Kean, in Commonwealth v.Cobbett (3 Dall. 473,) seems to have adopted a modified doctrine, and to have held, that the Supreme Court was not the common arbiter; but if not, the only remedy was, not by a state deciding for itself, as in case of a treaty between independent governments, but by a constitutional amendment by the states. But see, on the other hand, the opinion of Chief Justice Spencer, in Andrews v. Montgomery, 19 Johns. R. 164.
30.    Massachusetts, in her Resolve of February 12, 1799, (p. 57,) in answer to the Resolutions of Virginia of 1798, declared, ” that the decision of all cases in law and equity, arising under the constitution of the United States, and the construction of all laws made in pursuance thereof, are exclusively vested by the people in the judicial courts of the United States;” and ” that the people in that solemn compact, which is declared to be the supreme law of the land, have not constituted the state legislatures the judges of the acts or measures of the federal government, but have confided to them the power of proposing such amendments” etc.; and “that by this construction of the constitution, an amicable and dispassionate remedy is pointed out for any evil, which experience may prove to exist, and the peace and prosperity of the United States may be preserved without interruption.” See also Dane’s App. §44, p. 56; Id. 80. Mr. Webster’s Speech in the Senate, in 1830, contains an admirable exposition of the same doctrines. Webster’s Speeches, 410, 419, 420, 421. In June, 1821. the House of Representatives of NewHampshire passed certain resolutions. (172 yeas to 9 nays,) drawn up (as is understood) by one of her most distinguished statesmen, asserting the same doctrines. Delaware, in January, 1831, and Connecticut and Massachusetts held the same, in May, 1831.
31.    Virginia and Kentucky denied the power in 1793 and 1800; Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode-Island, New-York, Connecticut, NewHampshire, and Vermont disapproved of the Virginia resolutions, and passed counter resolutions. (North American Review, October, 1830, p. 500.) No other state appears to have approved the Virginia resolutions. (Ibid.) In 1810 Pennsylvania proposed the appointment of another tribunal than the Supreme Court to determine disputes between the general and state governments. Virginia, on that occasion, affirmed, that the Supreme Court was the proper tribunal; and in that opinion New-Hampshire, Vermont, North-Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New-Jersey concurred; and no one state approved of the amendment (North American Review, October, 1830, p. 507 to 512; Dane’s App. §55, p. 67; 6 Wheat. R. 358, note.) Recently, in March, 1831, Pennsylvania has resolved, that the 25th section of the judiciary act of 1789, ch. 20, which gives the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction from state courts on constitutional questions, is authorized by the constitution, and sanctioned by experience, and also all other laws empowering the federal judiciary to maintain the supreme laws.
32.    Upon this subject the speech of Mr. Webster in the Senate, in 1830, presents the whole argument in a very condensed and powerful form. The following passage is selected, as peculiarly appropriate:

“The people, then, sir, erected this government. They gave it a constitution, and in that constitution they have enumerated the powers which they bestow on it. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of such powers, as are granted; and all others, they declare, are reserved to the states, or the people. But, sir, they have not stopped here. If they had, they would have accomplished but half their work. No definition can be so clear, as to avoid possibility of doubt; no limitation so precise, as to exclude all uncertainty. Who, then, shall construe this grant of the people? Who shall interpret their will, where it may be supposed they have left it doubtful? With whom do they repose this ultimate right of deciding on the powers of the government? Sir, they have settled all this in the fullest manner. They have left it, with the government itself, in its appropriate branches. Sir, the very chief end, the main design, for which the whole constitution was framed and adopted, was to establish a government, that should not be obliged to act through state agency, or depend on state opinion and state discretion. The people had had quite enough of that kind of government, under the confederacy. Under that system, the legal action – the application of law to individuals, belonged exclusively to the states. Congress could only recommend – their acts were not of binding force, till the states had adopted and sanctioned them. Are we in that condition still? Are we yet at the mercy of state discretion, and state construction? Sir, if we are, then vain will be our attempt to maintain the constitution, under which we sit.

“But, sir, the people have wisely provided, in the constitution itself, a proper, suitable mode and tribunal for settling questions of constitutional law. There are, in the constitution, grants of powers to Congress; and restrictions on these powers. There are, also, prohibitions on the states. Some authority must, therefore, necessarily exist, having the ultimate jurisdiction to fix and ascertain the interpretation of these grants, restrictions, and prohibitions. The constitution has itself pointed out, ordained, and established that authority. How has it accomplished this great and essential end? By declaring, sir, that ‘ the constitution and the law of the United States, made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.’

“This, sir, was the first great step. By this, the supremacy of the constitution and laws of the United States is declared. The people so will it. No state law is to be valid, which comes in conflict with the constitution, or any law of the United States passed in pursuance of it. But who shall decide this question of interference? To whom lies the last appeal? This, sir, the constitution itself decides, also, by declaring, ‘that the judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under the constitution and laws of the United States.’ These two provisions, sir, cover the whole ground. They are, in truth, the keystone of the arch. With these, it is a constitution; without them, it is a confederacy. In pursuance of these clear and express provisions, congress established, at its very first session, in the judicial act, a mode for carrying them into full effect, and for bringing all questions of constitutional power to the final decision of the Supreme Court. It then, sir, became a government. It then had the means of self-protection; and, but for this, it would, in all probability, have been now among things, which are past. Having constituted the government, and declared its powers, the people have further said, that since somebody must decide on the extent of these powers, the government shall itself decide; subject, always, like other popular governments, to its responsibility to the people. And now, sir, I repeat, how is it, that a state legislature acquires any power to interfere? Who, or what, gives them the right to say to the people, ‘ We, who are your agents and servants for one purpose, will undertake to decide, that your other agents and servants, appointed by you for another purpose, have transcended the authority you gave them!’ The reply would be, I think, not impertinent -‘ Who made you a judge over another’s servants? To their own masters they stand or fall.’

“Sir, I deny this power of state legislatures altogether. It cannot stand the test of examination. Gentlemen may say, that in an extreme case, a state government might protect the people from intolerable oppression. Sir, in such a case, the people might protect themselves, without the aid of the state governments. Such a case warrants revolution. It must make, when it comes, a law for itself. A nullifying act of a state legislature cannot alter the case, nor make resistance any more lawful. In maintaining these sentiments, sir, I am but asserting the rights of the people. I state what they have declared, and insist on their right to declare it. They have chosen to repose this power in the general government, and I think it my duty to support it, like other constitutional powers.”

See also 1 Wilson’s Law Lectures, 461, 462. – It is truly surprising, that Mr. Vice-President Calhoun, in his Letter of the 28th of August, 1832, to governor Hamilton, (published while the present work was passing through the press,) should have thought, that a proposition merely offered in the convention, and referred to a committee for their consideration, that ” the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall be extended to all controversies between the United States and an individual state, or the United States and the citizens of an individual state,”* should, in connexion with others giving a negative on state laws, establish the conclusion, that the convention, which framed the constitution, was opposed to granting the power to the general government, in any form, to exercise any control whatever over a state by force, veto, or judicial process, or in any other form. This clause for conferring jurisdiction on the Supreme Court in controversies between the United States and the states, must, like the other controversies between states, or between individuals, referred to the judicial power, have been intended to apply exclusively to suits of a civil nature, respecting property, debts contracts, or other claims by the United States against a state; and not to the decision of constitutional questions in the abstract. At a subsequent period of the convention, the judicial power was expressly extended to all cases arising under the constitution, laws, and treaties, of the United States, and to all controversies, to which the United States should be a party,** thus covering the whole ground of a right to decide constitutional questions of a judicial nature. And this, as the Federalist informs us, was the substitute for a negative upon state laws, and the only one, which was deemed safe or efficient. The Federalist No. 80.
*    Journal of Convention, 20th Aug. p. 235.
**    Journal of Convention, 27th Aug. p. 298.
33.    Martin v. Hunter, I Wheat. R. 304, 334, etc. 342 to 348; Cohens v. The State of Virginia,6 Wheat. R. 264, 376, 377 to 392; Id. 413 to 432; Bank of Hamilton v. Dudley, 2 Peters’s R. 524; Ware v. Hylton, 3 Dall. 199; I Cond. R. 99, 112. The language of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in Cohens v. Virginia, presents the argument in favour of the jurisdiction of the judicial department in a very forcible manner.

“While weighing arguments drawn from the nature of government, and from the general spirit of an instrument, and urged for the purpose of narrowing the construction, which the words of that instrument seem to require, it is proper to place in the opposite scale those principles, drawn from the same sources, which go to sustain the words in their full operation and natural import. One of these, which has been pressed with great force by the counsel for the plaintiffs in error, is, that the judicial power of every well constituted government must be coextensive with the legislative, and must be capable of deciding every judicial question, which grows out of the constitution and laws.

“If any proposition may be considered as a political axiom, this, we think, may be so considered. In reasoning upon it, as an abstract question, there would, probably, exist no contrariety of opinion respecting it. Every argument, proving the necessity of the department, proves also the propriety of giving this extent to it. We do not mean to say, that the jurisdiction of the courts of the Union should be construed to be coextensive with the legislative, merely because it is fit, that it should be so; but we mean to say, that this fitness furnishes an argument in construing the constitution, which ought never to be overlooked, and which is most especially entitled to consideration, when we are inquiring, whether the words of the instrument, which purport to establish this principle, shall be contracted for the purpose of destroying it.

“The mischievous consequences of the construction, contended for on the part of Virginia, are also entitled to great consideration. It would prostrate, it has been said, the government and its laws at the feet of every state in the Union. And would not this be its effect? What power of the government could be executed by its own means, in any state disposed to resist its execution by a course of legislation? The laws must be executed by individuals acting within the several states. If these individuals may be exposed to penalties, and if the courts of the Union cannot correct the judgments, by which these penalties may be enforced, the course of the government may be, at any time, arrested by the will of one of its members. Each member will possess a veto on the will of the whole.

“The answer, which has been given to this argument, does not deny its truth, but insists, that confidence is reposed, and may be safely reposed, in the state institutions; and that, if they shall ever become so insane, or so wicked, as to seek the destruction of the government, they may accomplish their object by refusing to perform the functions assigned to them.

“We readily concur with the counsel for the defendant in the declaration, that the cases, which have been put, of direct legislative resistance for the purpose of oppose the acknowledged powers of the government, are extreme cases, and in the hope, that they will never occur; capacity of the government to protect itself and its laws in such cases, would contribute in no inconsiderable degree to their occurrence.

“Let it be admitted, that the cases, which have been put, are extreme and improbable, yet there are gradations of opposition to the laws, far short of those cases, which might have a baneful influence on the affairs of the nation. Different states may entertain different opinions on the true construction of the constitutional powers of congress. We know, that at one time, the assumption of the debts, contracted by the several states during the war of our revolution, was deemed unconstitutional by some of them. We know, too, that at other times, certain taxes, imposed by congress, have been pronounced unconstitutional. Other laws have been questioned partially, while they were supported by the great majority of the American people. We have no assurance, that we shall be less divided, than we have been. States may legislate in conformity to their opinions, and may enforce those opinions by penalties. It would be hazarding too much to assert, that the judicatures of the states will be exempt from the prejudices, by which the legislatures and people are influenced, and will constitute perfectly impartial tribunal. In many states the judges are dependent for office and for salary on the will of the legislature. The constitution of the United States furnishes no security against the universal adoption of this principle. When we observe the importance, which that constitution attaches to the independence of judges, we are the less inclined to suppose, that it can have intended to leave these constitutional questions to tribunals, where this independence may not exist, in all cases where a state shall prosecute an individual, who claims the protection of an act of congress. These prosecutions may take place, even without a legislative act. A person, making a seizure under an act of congress, may be indicted as a trespasser, if force has been employed, and of this a jury may judge. How extensive may be the mischief, if the first decisions in such cases should be final!

“These collisions may take place in times of no extraordinary commotion. But a constitution is framed for ages to come, and is designed to approach immortality, as nearly as human institutions can approach it. Its course cannot always be tranquil. It is exposed to storms and tempests, and its framers must be unwise statesmen indeed, if they have not provided it, as far as its nature will permit, with the means of self-preservation from the perils it may be destined to encounter. No government ought to be so defective in its organization, as not to contain within itself the means of securing the execution of its own laws against other dangers, than those which occur every day. Courts of justice are the means most usually employed; and it is reasonable to expect, that a government should repose on its own courts, rather than on others. There is certainly nothing in the circumstances, under which our constitution was formed; nothing in the history of the times, which would justify the opinion, that the confidence reposed in the states was so implicit, as to leave in them and their tribunals the power of resisting or defeating, in the form of law, the legitimate measures of the Union. The requisitions of congress, under the confederation, were as constitutionally obligatory, as the laws enacted by the present congress. That they were habitually disregarded, is a fact of universal notoriety. With the knowledge of this fact, and under its full pressure, a convention was assembled to change the system. Is it so improbable, that they should confer on the judicial department the power of construing the constitution and laws of the Union in every case, in the last resort, and of preserving them from all violation from every quarter, so far as judicial decisions can preserve them, that this improbability should essentially affect the construction of the new system? We are told, and we are truly told, that the great change, which is to give efficacy to the present system, is its ability to act on individuals directly, instead of acting through the instrumentality of state governments. But, ought not this ability, in reason and sound policy, to he applied directly to the protection of individuals employed in the execution of the laws, as well as to their coercion? Your laws reach the individual without the aid of any other power; why may they not protect him from punishment for performing his duty in executing them?

“The counsel for Virginia endeavour to obviate the force of these arguments by saying, that the dangers they suggest, if not imaginary, are inevitable; that the constitution can make no provision against them; and that, therefore, in construing that instrument, they ought to be excluded from our consideration. This state of things, they say, cannot arise, until there shall be a disposition so hostile to the present political system, as to produce a determination to destroy it; and, when that determination shall be produced, its effects will not be restrained by parchment stipulations. The fate of the constitution will not then depend on judicial decisions. But, should no appeal be made to force, the states can put an end to the government by refusing to act. They have only not to elect senators, and it expires without a struggle.

“It is very true, that, whenever hostility to the existing system shall become universal, it will be also irresistible. The people made the constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will. But this supreme and irresistible power to make, or to unmake, resides only in the whole body of the people; not in any subdivision of them. The attempt of any of the parts to exercise. it is usurpation, and ought to be repelled by those, to whom the people have delegated their power of repelling it.

“The acknowledged inability of the government, then, to sustain itself against the public will, and, by force or otherwise, to control the whole nation, is no sound argument in support of its constitutional inability to preserve itself against a section of the nation acting in opposition to the general will.

“It is true, that if all the states, or a majority of them, refuse to elect senators, the legislative powers of the Union will be suspended. But if any one state shall refuse to elect them, the senate will not, on that account, be the less capable of performing all its functions. The argument founded on this fact would seem rather to prove the subordination of the parts to the whole, than the complete independence of any one of them. The framers of the constitution were, indeed, unable to make any provisions, which should protect that instrument against a general combination of the states, or of the people, for its destruction; and, conscious of this inability, they have not made the attempt. But they were able to provide against the operation of measures adopted in any one state, whose tendency might be to arrest the execution of the laws, and this it was the part of true wisdom to attempt. We think they have attempted it.”

See also M’Culloch v. Maryland, (4 Wheat. 316, 405, 406.) See also the reasoning of Mr. Chief Justice Jay, in Chisholm v. Georgia,(2 Dall. 419, S. C. 2 Peters’s Cond. R. 635, 670 to 675.) Osborn v. Bank of the United States,( 9 Wheat. 738, 818, 819;) and Gibbons v. Ogden,(9 Wheat. 1, 210.)
34.    The Federalist, No. 44; 1 Wilson’s Law Lectures, 461, 462; Dane’s App. §58, p. 68.
35.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9) Wheat. R. 1, 197. — See also, on the same subject, the observations of Mr. Justice Johnson in delivering the opinion of the court, in Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. R. 204, 226.
36.    See Webster’s Speeches, p. 408, 409; 1 Black. Comm. 161, 162. See also 1 Tucker’s Black. Comm. App. 73 to 75.
37.    Reference is here made to Mr. Madison’s Letter, dated August, 1830, to Mr. Edward Everett, published in the North American Review for October, 1830. The following extract is taken from p. 537, et seq.

“In order to understand the true character of the constitution of the United States, the error, not uncommon, must be avoided, of viewing it through the medium, either of a consolidated government, or of a confederated government, whilst it is neither the one, nor the other; but a mixture of both. And having, in no model, the similitudes and analogies applicable to other systems of government, it must, more than any other, be its own interpreter according to its text and the facts of the case.

“From these it will be seen, that the characteristic peculiarities of the constitution are, 1, the mode of its formation; 2, the division of the supreme powers of government between the states in their united capacity, and the states in their individual capacities.

“1. It was formed, not by the governments of the component states, as the federal government, for which it was substituted was formed. Nor was it formed by a majority of the people of the United States, as a single community, in the manner of a consolidated government.

“It was formed by the states, that is, by the people in each of the states, acting in their highest sovereign capacity; and formed consequently, by the same authority, which formed the state constitutions.

“Being thus derived from the same source as the constitutions of the states, it has, within each state, the same authority, as the constitution of the state; and is as much a constitution, in the strict sense of the term, within its prescribed sphere, as the constitutions of the states are, within their respective spheres: but with this obvious and essential difference, that being a compact among the states in their highest sovereign capacity, and constituting the people thereof one people for certain purposes, it cannot be altered, or annulled at the will of the states individually, as the constitution of a state may. be at its individual will.

“2. And that it divides the supreme powers of government, between the government of the United States, and the governments of the individual states; is stamped on the face of the instrument; the powers of war and of taxation, of commerce and of treaties, and other enumerated powers vested in the government of the United States, being of as high and sovereign a character, as any of the powers reserved to the state governments.

“Nor is the government of the United States, created by the constitution, less a government in the strict sense of the term, within the sphere of its powers, than the governments created by the constitutions of the states are, within their several spheres. It is, like them, organized into legislative, executive, and judiciary departments. It operates, like them, directly on persons and things. And, like them, it has at command a physical force for executing the powers committed to it. The concurrent operation in certain cases is one of the features marking the peculiarity of the system.

“Between these different constitutional governments, the one operating in all the states, the others operating separately in each, with the aggregate powers of government divided between them, it could not escape attention, that controversies would arise concerning the boundaries of jurisdiction; and that some provision ought to be made for such occurrences. A political system, that does not provide for a peaceable and authoritative termination of occurring controversies, would not be more than the shadow of a government; the object and end of a real government being, the substitution of law and order for uncertainty, confusion, and violence.

“That to have left a final decision, in such cases, to each of the states, then thirteen, and already twenty-four, could not fail to make the constitution and laws of the United States different in different states, was obvious; and not less obvious, that this diversity of independent decisions must altogether distract the government of the union, and speedily put an end to the union itself. A uniform authority of the laws, is in itself a vital principle. Some of the most important laws could not be partially executed. They must be executed in all the states, or they could be duly executed in none. An impost, or an excise, for example, if not in force in some states, would be defeated in others. It is well known, that this was among the lessons of experience, which had a primary influence in bringing about the existing constitution. A loss of its general authority would moreover revive the exasperating questions between the states holding ports for foreign commerce, and the adjoining states without them; to which are now added, all the inland states, necessarily carrying on their foreign commerce through other states.

“To have made the decisions under the authority of the individual states, coordinate, in all cases, with decisions under the authority of the United States, would unavoidably produce collisions incompatible with the peace of society, and with that regular and efficient administration, which is of the essence of free governments. Scenes could not be avoided, in which a ministerial officer of the United States, and the correspondent officer of an individual state, would have rencounters in executing conflicting decrees; the result of which would depend on the comparative force of the local posses attending them; and that, a casualty depending on the political opinions and party feelings in different states.

“To have referred every clashing decision, under the two authorities, for a final decision, to the states as parties to the constitution, would be attended with delays, with inconveniences, and with expenses, amounting to a prohibition of the expedient; not to mention its tendency to impair the salutary veneration for a system requiring such frequent inter positions, nor the delicate questions, which might present themselves as to the form of stating the appeal, and as to the quorum for deciding it.

“To have trusted to negotiation for adjusting disputes between the government of the United States and the state governments, as between independent and separate sovereignties, would have lost sight altogether of a constitution and government for the Union; and opened a direct road from a failure of that resort, to the ultima ratio between nations wholly independent of, and alien to each other. If the idea had its origin in the process of adjustment between separate branches of the same government, the analogy entirely fails. In the case of disputes between independent parts of the same government, neither part being able to consummate its will, nor the government to proceed without a concurrence of the parts, necessity brings about an accommodation. In disputes between a state government, and the government of the United States, the case is practically, as well as theoretically different; each party possessing all the departments of an organized government, legislative, executive, and judiciary; and having each a physical force to support its pretensions. Although the issue of negotiation might sometimes avoid this extremity, how often would it happen among so many states, that an unaccommodating spirit in some would render that resource unavailing? A contrary supposition would not accord with a knowledge of human nature, or the evidence of our own political history.

“The constitution, not relying on any of the preceding modifications, for its safe and successful operation, has expressly declared, on the one hand, 1, ‘that the constitution, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; 2, that the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution and laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding; 3, that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made under their authority, etc.’

“On the other hand, as a security of the rights and powers of the states, in their individual capacities, against an undue preponderance of the powers granted to the government over them in their united capacity, the constitution has relied on, (1,) the responsibility of the senators and representatives in the legislature of the United States to the legislatures and people of the states; (2,) the responsibility of the president to the people of the United States; and ( 3,) the liability of the executive and judicial functionaries of the United States to impeachment by the representatives of the people of the states, in one branch of the legislature of the United States, and trial by the representatives of the states, in the other branch: the state functionaries, legislative, executive, and judicial, being, at the same time, in their appointment and responsibility, altogether independent of the agency or authority of the United States.

“How far this structure of the government of the United States is adequate and safe for its objects, time alone can absolutely determine. Experience seems to have shewn, that whatever may grow out of future stages of our national career, there is, as yet, a sufficient control, in the popular will, over the executive and legislative departments of the government. When the alien and sedition laws were passed, in contravention to the opinions and feelings of the community, the first elections, that ensued, put an end to them. And whatever may have been the character of other acts, in the judgment of many of us it is but true, that they have generally accorded with the views of the majority of the states and of the people. At the present day it seems well understood, that the laws, which have created most dissatisfaction, have had a like sanction without doors: and that, whether continued, varied, or repealed, a like proof will be given of the sympathy and responsibility of the representative body to the constituent body. Indeed, the great complaint now is, against the results of this sympathy and responsibility in the legislative policy of the nation.

“With respect to the judicial power of the United States, and the authority of the Supreme Court in relation to the boundary of jurisdiction between the federal and the state governments, I may be permitted to refer to the thirty-ninth number of the Federalist for the light, in which the subject was regarded by its writer at the period, when the constitution was depending; and it is believed, that the same was the prevailing view then taken of it; that the same view has continued to prevail; and that it does so at this time, notwithstanding the eminent exceptions to it.

“But it is perfectly consistent with the concession of this power to the Supreme Court, in cases falling within the course of its functions, to maintain, that the power has not always been rightly exercised. To say nothing of the period, happily a short one, when judges in their seats did not abstain from intemperate and party harangues, equally at variance with their duty and their dignity; there have been occasional decisions from the bench, which have incurred serious and extensive disapprobation. Still it would seem, that, with but few exceptions, the course of the judiciary has been hitherto sustained by the prominent sense of the nation.

“Those who have denied, or doubted the supremacy of the judicial power of the United States, and denounce at the same time a nullifying power in a state, seem not to have sufficiently adverted to the utter inefficiency of a supremacy in a law of the land, without a supremacy in the exposition and execution of the law: nor to the destruction of all equipoise between the federal government and the state governments, if, whilst the functionaries of the federal government are directly or indirectly elected by, and responsible to the states, and the functionaries of the states are in their appointment and responsibility wholly independent of the United States, no constitutional control of any sort belonged to the United States over the states. Under such an organization, it is evident, that it would be in the power of the states, individually, to pass unauthorized laws, and to carry them into complete effect, any thing in the constitution and laws of the United States to the contrary notwithstanding. This would be a nullifying power in its plenary character; and whether it had its final effect, through the legislative, executive, or judiciary organ of the state, would be equally fatal to the constituted relation between the two governments.

“Should the provisions of the constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the constitution, lies in an amendment of the constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.

“And in the event of a failure of every constitutional resort, and an accumulation of usurpations and abuses, rendering passive obedience and non-resistance a greater evil, than resistance and revolution, there can remain but one resort, the last of all; an appeal from the cancelled obligations of the constitutional compact, to original rights and the law of self-preservation. This is the ultima ratio under all governments, whether consolidated, confederated, or a compound of both; and it cannot be doubted, that a single member of the Union, in the extremity supposed, but in that only, would have a right, as an extra and ultra constitutional right, to make the appeal.

“This brings us to the expedient lately advanced, which claims for a single state a right to appeal against an exercise of power by the government of the United States, decided by the state to be unconstitutional, to the parties to the constitutional compact; the decision of the state to have the effect of nullifying the act of the government of the United States, unless the decision of the state be reversed by three fourths of the parties.

“The distinguished names and high authorities, which appear to have asserted, and given a practical scope to this doctrine, entitle it to a respect, which it might be difficult otherwise to feel for it.

“If the doctrine were to be understood as requiring the three fourths of the states to sustain, instead of that proportion to reverse the decision of the appealing state, the decision to be without effect during the appeal, it would be sufficient to remark, that this extra-constitutional course might well give way to that marked out by the constitution, which authorizes two thirds of the states to institute, and three fourths to effectuate an amendment of the constitution, establishing a permanent rule of the highest authority, in place of an irregular precedent of construction only.

“But it is understood, that the nullifying doctrine imports, that the decision of the state is to be presumed valid, and that it overrules the law of the United States, unless overruled by three fourths of the states.

“Can more be necessary to demonstrate the inadmissibility of such a doctrine, than, that it puts it in the power of the smallest fraction over one fourth of the United States, that is, of seven states out of twentyfour, to give the law, and even the constitution to seventeen states, each of the seventeen having, as parties to the constitution, an equal right with each of the seven, to expound it, and to insist on the exposition? That the seven might, in particular instances be right, and the seventeen wrong, is more than possible. But to establish a positive and permanent rule giving such a power, to such a minority, over such a majority, would overturn the first principle of free government, and in practice necessarily overturn the government itself.

“It is to be recollected, that the constitution was proposed to the people of the states as a whole, and unanimously adopted by the states as a whole, it being a part of the constitution, that not less than three fourths of the states should be competent to make any alteration in what had been unanimously agreed to. So great is the caution on this point, that in two cases where peculiar interests were at stake, a proportion even of three fourths is distrusted, and unanimity required to make an alteration.

“When the constitution was adopted as a whole, it is certain, that there were many parts, which, if separately proposed, would have been promptly rejected. It is far from impossible, that every part of a constitution might be rejected by a majority, and yet taken together as a whole, be unanimously accepted. Free constitutions will rarely, if ever, be formed, without reciprocal concessions; without articles conditioned on, and balancing each other. Is there a constitution of a single state out of the twenty-four, that would bear the experiment of having its component parts submitted to the people, and separately decided on?

“What the fate of the constitution of the United States would be, if a small proportion of the states could expunge parts of it particularly valued by a large majority, can have but one answer.

“The difficulty is not removed by limiting the doctrine to cases of construction. How many cases of that sort, involving cardinal provisions of the constitution, have occurred? How many now exist? How many may hereafter spring up? How many might be ingeniously created, if entitled to the privilege of a decision in the mode proposed?

“Is it certain, that the principle of that mode would not reach further than is contemplated? If a single state can, of right, require three fourths of its co-states to overrule its exposition of the constitution, because that proportion is authorized to amend it, would the plea be less plausible, that, as the constitution was unanimously established, it ought to be unanimously expounded?

“The reply to all such suggestions, seems to be unavoidable and irresistible; that the constitution is a compact; that its text is to be expounded, according to the provisions for expounding it – making a part of the compact; and that none of the parties can rightfully renounce the expounding provision more than any other part. When such a right accrues, as may accrue, it must grow out of abuses of the compact releasing the sufferers from their fealty to it.”

Sources: Commentaries On the Constitution of the United States by Justice Joseph Story published 1833

See also:
Rights of American Citizens Series:
The Importance of Free Speech and The Free Press in America
Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
When Vain & Aspiring Men Possess the Highest Seats in Government by Samuel AdamsPatrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
Preface To Resolutions of Virginia and Kentucky by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)

Rules of Interpreting the Constitution by Justice Joseph Story

Joseph-Story-1779-1845Rules of Interpreting the Constitution:
JOSEPH STORY was born on September 18, 1779, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1798. Story read law in the offices of two Marblehead attorneys and was admitted to the bar in 1801. He established a law practice in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1805, Story served one term in the Massachusetts Legislature, and in 1808 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. After one term, he returned to the Massachusetts Lower House, and in 1811 he was elected Speaker. On November 18, 1811, President James Madison nominated Story to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on February 3, 1812. At the age of thirty-two, Story was the youngest person ever appointed to the Supreme Court. While on the Supreme Court, Story served as a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1820 and was a Professor of Law at Harvard, where he wrote a series of nine commentaries on the law, each of which was published in several editions. Story served on the Supreme Court for thirty-three years. He died on September 10, 1845, at the age of sixty-five.

Rules of Interpretation: Note, sorry the footnote links aren’t working right yet I am still learning, please bear with me.

§ 397. IN our future commentaries upon the constitution we shall treat it, then, as it is denominated in the instrument itself, as a CONSTITUTION of government, ordained and established by the people of the United States for themselves and their posterity.1 They have declared it the supreme law of the land. They have made it a limited government. They have defined its authority. They have restrained it to the exercise of certain powers, and reserved all others to the states or to the people. It is a popular government. Those who administer it are responsible to the people. It is as popular, and Just as much emanating from the people, as the state governments. It is created for one purpose; the state governments for another. It may be altered, and amended, and abolished at the will of the people. In short, it was made by the people, made for the people, and is responsible to the people.2

§ 398. In this view of the matter, let us now proceed to consider the rules, by which it ought to be interpreted; for, if these rules are correctly laid down, it will save us from many embarrassments in examining and defining its powers. Much of the difficulty, which has arisen in all the public discussions on this subject, has had its origin in the want of some uniform rules of interpretation, expressly or tacitly agreed on by the disputants. Very different doctrines on this point have been adopted by different commentators; and not unfrequently very different language held by the same parties at different periods. In short, the rules of interpretation have often been shifted to suit the emergency; and the passions and prejudices of the day, or the favor and odium of a particular measure, have not unfrequently furnished a mode of argument, which would, on the one hand, leave the constitution crippled and inanimate, or, on other hand, give it an extent and elasticity, subversive of all rational boundaries.

§ 399. Let us, then, endeavor to ascertain, what are the true rules of interpretation applicable to the constitution; so that we may have some fixed standard, by which to measure its powers, and limit its prohibitions, and guard its obligations, and enforce its securities of our rights and liberties.

§ 400. I. The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all instruments is, to construe them according to the sense of the terms, and the intention of the parties. Mr. Justice Blackstone has remarked, that the intention of a law is to be gathered from the words, the context, the subject matter, the effects and consequence, or the reason and spirit of the law.3 He goes on to justify the remark by stating, that words are generally to be understood in their usual and most known signification, not so much regarding the propriety of grammar, as their general and popular use; that if words happen to be dubious, their meaning may be established by the context, or by comparing them with other words and sentences in the same instrument; that illustrations may be further derived from the subject matter, with reference to which the expressions are used; that the effect and consequence of a particular construction is to be examined, because, if a literal meaning would involve a manifest absurdity, it ought not to be adopted; and that the reason and spirit of the law, or the causes, which led to its enactment, are often the best exponents of the words, and limit their application.4

§ 401. Where the words are plain and clear, and the sense distinct and perfect arising on them, there is generally no necessity to have recourse to other means of interpretation. It is only, when there is some ambiguity or doubt arising from other sources, that interpretation has its proper office. There may be obscurity, as to the meaning, from the doubtful character of the words used, from other clauses in the same instrument, or from an incongruity or repugnancy between the words, and the apparent intention derived from the whole structure of the instrument, or its avowed object. In all such cases interpretation becomes indispensable.

§ 402. Rutherforth5 has divided interpretation into three kinds, literal, rational, and mixed. The first is, where we collect the intention of the party from his words only, as they lie before us. The second is, where his words do not express that intention perfectly, but exceed it, or fall short of it, and we are to collect it from probable or rational conjectures only. The third is, where the words, though they do express the intention, when they are rightly understood, are themselves of doubtful meaning, and we are bound to have recourse to the like conjectures to find out in what sense they are used. In literal interpretation the rule observed is, to follow that sense in respect both of the words, and of the construction of them, which is agreeable to common use, without attending to etymological fancies or grammatical refinements. In mixed interpretation, which supposes the words to admit of two or more senses, each of which is agreeable to common usage, we are obliged to collect the sense, partly from the words, and partly from conjecture of the intention. The rules then adopted are, to construe the words according to the subject matter, in such a sense as to produce a reasonable effect, and with reference to the circumstances of the particular transaction. Light may also be obtained in such cases from contemporary facts, or expositions, from antecedent mischiefs, from known habits, manners, and institutions, and from other sources almost innumerable, which may justly affect the judgment in drawing a fit conclusion in the particular case.

§ 403. Interpretation also may be strict or large; though we do not always mean the same thing, when we speak of a strict or large interpretation. When common usage has given two senses to the same word, one of which is more confined, or includes fewer particulars than the other, the former is called its strict sense, and the latter, which is more comprehensive or includes more particulars, is called its large sense. If we find such a word in a law, and we take it in its more confined sense, we are said to interpret it strictly. If we take it in its more comprehensive sense, we are said to interpret it largely. But whether we do the one or the other, we still keep to the letter of the law. But strict and large interpretations are frequently opposed to each other in a different sense. The words of a law may sometimes express the meaning of the legislator imperfectly. They may, in their common acceptation, include either more or less than his intention. And as, on the one hand, we call it a strict interpretation, where we contend, that the letter is to be adhered to precisely; so, on the other hand, we call it a large interpretation, where we contend, that the words ought to be taken in such a sense, as common usage will not fully justify; or that the meaning of the legislator is something different from what his words in any usage would import. In this sense a large interpretation is synonymous with what has before been called a rational interpretation. And a strict interpretation, in this sense, includes both literal and mixed interpretation; and may, as contra-distinguished from the former, be called a close, in opposition to a free or liberal interpretation.6

§ 404. These elementary explanations furnish little room for controversy; but they may nevertheless aid us in making a closer practical application, when we arrive at more definite rules.

§ 405. II. In construing the constitution of the United States, we are, in the first instance, to consider, what are its nature and objects, its scope and design, as apparent from the structure of the instrument, viewed as a whole, and also viewed in its component parts. Where its words are plain, clear, and determinate, they require no interpretation; and it should, therefore, be admitted, if at all, with great caution, and only from necessity, either to escape some absurd consequence, or to guard against some fatal evil. Where the words admit of two senses, each of which is conformable to common usage, that sense is to be adopted, which, without departing from the literal import of the words, best harmonizes with the nature and objects, the scope and design of the instrument. Where the words are unambiguous, but the provision may cover more or less ground according to the intention, which is yet subject to conjecture; or where it may include in its general terms more or less, than might seem dictated by the general design, as that may be gathered from other parts of the instrument, there is much more room for controversy; and the argument from inconvenience will probably have different influences upon different minds. Whenever such questions arise, they will probably be settled, each upon its own peculiar grounds; and whenever it is a question of power, it should be approached with infinite caution, and affirmed only upon the most persuasive reasons. In examining the constitution, the antecedent situation of the country, and its institutions, the existence and operations of the state governments, the powers and operations of the confederation, in short all the circumstances, which had a tendency to produce, or to obstruct its formation and ratification, deserve a careful attention. Much, also, may be gathered from contemporary history, and contemporary interpretation, to aid us in just conclusions.7

§ 406. It is obvious; however, that contemporary interpretation must be resorted to with much qualification and reserve. In the first place, the private interpretation of any particular man, or body of men, must manifestly be open to much observation. The constitution was adopted by the people of the United States; and it was submitted to the whole upon a just survey of its provisions, as they stood in the text itself. In different states and in different conventions, different and very opposite objections are known to have prevailed; and might well be presumed to prevail. Opposite interpretations, and different explanations of different provisions, may well be presumed to have been presented in different bodies, to remove local objections, or to win local favor. And there can be no certainty, either that the different state conventions in ratifying the constitution, gave the same uniform interpretation to its language, or that, even in a single state convention, the same reasoning prevailed with a majority, much less with the whole of the supporters of it. In the interpretation of a state statute, no man is insensible of the extreme danger of resorting to the opinions of those, who framed it, or those who passed it. Its terms may have differently impressed different minds. Some may have implied limitations and objects, which others would have rejected. Some may have taken a cursory view of its enactments, and others have studied them with profound attention. Some may have been governed by a temporary interest or excitement, and have acted upon that exposition, which most favored their present views. Others may have seen lurking beneath its text, what commended it to their judgment against even present interests. Some may have interpreted its language strictly and closely; others from a different habit of thinking may have given it a large and liberal meaning. It is not to be presumed, that, even in the convention, which framed the constitution, from the causes above mentioned, and other causes, the clauses were always understood in the same sense, or had precisely the same extent of operation. Every member necessarily judged for himself; and the judgment of no one could, or ought to be, conclusive upon that of others. The known diversity of construction of different parts of it, as well of the mass of its powers, in the different state conventions; the total silence upon many objections, which have since been started; and the strong reliance upon others, which have since been universally abandoned, add weight to these suggestions. Nothing but the text itself was adopted by the people. And it would certainly be a most extravagant doctrine to give to any commentary then made, and, a fortiori, to any commentary since made under a very different posture of feeling and opinion, an authority, which should operate an absolute limit upon the text, or should supersede its natural and just interpretation.

§ 407. Contemporary construction is properly resorted to, to illustrate, and confirm the text, to explain a doubtful phrase, or to expound an obscure clause; and in proportion to the uniformity and universality of that construction, and the known ability and talents of those, by whom it was given, is the credit, to which it is entitled. It can never abrogate the text; it can never fritter away its obvious sense; it can never narrow down its true limitations; it can never enlarge its natural boundaries.8 We shall have abundant reason hereafter to observe, when we enter upon the analysis of the particular clauses of the constitution, how many loose interpretations, and plausible conjectures were hazarded at an early period, which have since silently died away, and are now retained in no living memory, as a topic either of praise or blame, of alarm or of congratulation.

§ 408. And, after all, the most unexceptionable source of collateral interpretation is from the practical exposition of the government itself in its various departments upon particular questions discussed, and settled upon their own single merits. These approach the nearest in their own nature to judicial expositions; and have the same general recommendation, that belongs to the latter. They are decided upon solemn argument, pro re nata, upon a doubt raised, upon a lis mota, upon a deep sense of their importance and difficulty, in the face of the nation, with a view to present action, in the midst of jealous interests, and by men capable of urging, or repelling the grounds of argument, from their exquisite genius, their comprehensive learning, or their deep meditation upon the absorbing topic. How light, compared with these means of instruction, are the private lucubrations of the closet, or the retired speculations of ingenious minds, intent on theory, or general views, and unused to encounter a practical difficulty at every step!

§ 409. But to return to the rules of interpretation arising ex directo from the text of the constitution. And first the rules to be drawn from the nature of the instrument. (1.) It is to be construed, as a frame, or fundamental law of government, established by the PEOPLE of the United States, according to their own free pleasure and sovereign will. In this respect it is in no wise distinguishable from the constitutions of the state governments. Each of them is established by the people for their own purposes, and each is founded on their supreme authority. The powers, which are conferred, the restrictions, which are imposed, the authorities, which are exercised, the organization and distribution thereof, which are provided, are in each case for the same object, the common benefit of the governed, and not for the profit or dignity of the rulers.

§ 410. And yet it has been a very common mode of interpretation to insist upon a diversity of rules in construing the state constitutions, and that of the general government. Thus, in the Commentaries of Mr. Tucker upon Blackstone, we find it laid down, as if it were an incontrovertible doctrine in regard to the constitution of the United States, that “as federal, it is to be construed strictly, in all cases, where the antecedent rights of a state may be drawn in question. As a social compact, it ought likewise “to receive the same strict construction, wherever the right of personal liberty, of personal security, or of private property may become the object of dispute; because every person, whose liberty or property was thereby rendered subject to the new government, was antecedently a member of a civil society, to whose regulations he had submitted himself, and under whose authority and protection he still remains, in all cases not expressly submitted to the new government.”9

§ 411. We here see, that the whole reasoning is founded, not on the notion, that the rights of the people are concerned, but the rights of the states. And by strict construction is obviously meant the most limited sense belonging to the words. And the learned author relies, for the support of his reasoning, upon some rules laid down by Vattel in relation to the interpretation of treaties in relation to odious things. It would seem, then, that the constitution of the United States is to be deemed an odious instrument. And why, it may be asked? Was it not framed for the good of the people, and by the people? One of the sections of Vattel, which is relied on, states this proposition,10 “That whatever tends to change the present state of things, is also to be ranked in the class of odious things.” Is it not most manifest, that this proposition is, or at least may be, in many cases, fundamentally wrong? If a people free themselves from a despotism, is it to be said, that the change of government is odious, and ought to be construed strictly? What, upon such a principle, is to become of the American Revolution; and of our state governments, and state constitutions? Suppose a well-ordered government arises out of a state of disorder and anarchy, is such a government to be considered odious? Another section11 adds, “Since odious things are those, whose restriction tends more certainly to equity than their extension, and since we ought to pursue that line, which is most conformable to equity, when the will of the legislature or of the contracting parties is not exactly known, we should, where there is a question of odious things, interpret the terms in the most limited sense. We may even, to a certain degree, adopt a figurative meaning in order to avert the oppressive consequences of the proper and literal sense, or anything of an odious nature, which it would involve.” Does not this section contain most lax and unsatisfactory ingredients for interpretation? Who is to decide, whether it is most conformable to equity to extend, or to restrict these? Who is to decide, whether the provision is odious? According to this rule, the most opposite interpretations of the same words would be equally correct, according as the interpretator should deem it odious or salutary. Nay, the words are to be deserted, and a figurative sense adopted, whenever he deems it advisable, looking to the odious nature or consequence of the common sense. He, who believes the general government founded in wisdom, and sound policy, and the public safety, may extend the words. He, who deems it odious, or the state governments the truest protection of all our rights, must limit the words to the narrowest meaning.

§ 412. The twelfth amendment to the constitution is also relied on by the same author, which declares, “that 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.” He evidently supposes, that this means “in all cases not expressly submitted to the new government “; yet the word “expressly” is no where found in the amendment. But we are not considering, whether any powers can be implied; the only point now before us is, how the express powers are to be construed. Are they to be construed strictly, that is, in their most limited sense? Or are they to receive a fair and reasonable construction, according to the plain meaning of the terms and the objects, for which they are used?

§ 413. When it is said, that the constitution of the United States should be construed strictly, viewed as a social compact, whenever it touches the rights of property, or of personal security, or liberty, the rule is equally applicable to the state constitutions in the like eases. The principle, upon which this interpretation rests, if it has any foundation, must be, that the people ought not to be presumed to yield up their rights of property or liberty, beyond what is the clear sense of the language and the objects of the constitution. All governments are founded on a surrender of some natural rights, and impose some restrictions. We may not be at liberty to extend the grants of power beyond the fair meaning of the words in any such case; but that is not the question here under discussion. It is, how we are to construe the words as used, whether in the most confined, or in the more liberal sense properly belonging to them. Now, in construing a grant, or surrender of powers by the people to a monarch, for his own benefit or use, it is not only natural, but just, to presume, as in all other cases of grants, that the parties had not in view any large sense of the terms, because the objects were a derogation permanently from their rights and interests. But in construing a constitution of government, framed by the people for their own benefit and protection, for the preservation of their rights, and property, and liberty; where the delegated powers are not, and cannot be used for the benefit of their rulers, who are but their temporary servants and agents; but are intended solely for the benefit of the people, no such presumption of an intention to use the words in the most restricted sense necessariIy arises. The strict, or the more extended sense, both being within the letter, may be fairly held to be within their intention, as either shall best promote the very objects of the people in the grant; as either shall best promote or secure their rights, property, or liberty. The words are not, indeed, to be stretched beyond their fair sense; but within that range, the rule of interpretation must be taken, which best follows out the apparent intention.12 This is the mode (it is believed) universally adopted in construing the state constitutions. It has its origin in common sense. And it never can be a matter of just jealousy; because the rulers can have no permanent interest in a free government, distinct from that of the people, of whom they are a part, and to whom they are responsible. Why the same reasoning should not apply to the government of the United States, it is not very easy to conjecture.

§ 414. But it is said, that the state governments being already in existence, and the people subjected to them, their obedience to the new government may endanger their obedience to the states, or involve them in a conflict of authority, and thus produce inconvenience. In the first place, it is not true, in a just sense, (if we are right in our view of the constitution of the United States,) that such a conflict can ultimately exist. For if the powers of the general government are of paramount and supreme obligation, if they constitute the supreme law of the land, no conflict, as to obedience, can be found. Whenever the question arises, as to whom obedience is due, it is to be judicially settled; and being settled, it regulates, at once, the rights and duties of all the citizens.

§ 415. In the next place, the powers given by the people to the general government are not necessarily carved out of the powers already confided by them to the state governments. They may be such, as they originally reserved to themselves. And, if they are not, the authority of the people, in their sovereign capacity, to withdraw power from their state functionaries, and to confide it to the functionaries of the general government, cannot be doubted or denied.13 If they withdraw the power from the state functionaries, it must be presumed to be, because they deem it more useful for themselves, more for the common benefit, and common protection, than to leave it, where it has been hitherto deposited. Why should a power in the hands of one functionary be differently construed in the hands of another functionary, if, in each case, the same object is in view, the safety of the people. The state governments have no right to assume, that the power is more safe or more useful with them, than with the general government; that they have a higher capacity and a more honest desire to preserve the rights and liberties of the people, than the general government; that there is no danger in trusting them; but that all the peril and all the oppression impend on the other side. The people have not so said, or thought; and they have the exclusive right to judge for themselves on the subject. They avow, that the constitution of the United States was adopted by them, “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.” It would be a mockery to ask, if these are odious objects. If these require every grant of power, withdrawn from the state governments, to be deemed strictissimi juris, and construed in the most limited sense, even if it should defeat these objects. What peculiar sanctity have the state governments in the eyes of the people beyond these objects? Are they not framed for the same general ends? Was not the very inability of the state governments suitably to provide for our national wants, and national independence, and national protection, the very groundwork of the whole system?

§ 416. If this be the true view of the subject, the constitution of the United States is to receive as favorable a construction, as those of the states. Neither is to be construed alone; but each with a reference to the other. Each belongs to the same system of government; each is limited in its powers; and within the scope of its powers each is supreme. Each, by the theory of our government, is essential to the existence and due preservation of the powers and obligations of the other. The destruction of either would be equally calamitous, since it would involve the ruin of that beautiful fabric of balanced government, which has been reared with so much care and wisdom, and in which the people have reposed their confidence, as the truest safeguard of their civil, religious, and political liberties. The exact limits of the powers confided by the people to each, may not always be capable, from the inherent difficulty of the subject, of being defined, or ascertained in all cases with perfect certainty.14 But the lines are generally marked out with sufficient broadness and clearness; and in the progress of the development of the peculiar functions of each, the part of true wisdom would seem to be, to leave in every practicable direction a wide, if not an unmeasured, distance between the actual exercise of the sovereignty of each. In every complicated machine slight causes may disturb the operations; and it is often more easy to detect the defects, than to apply a safe and adequate remedy.

§ 417. The language of the Supreme Court, in the case of Martin v. Hunter,15 seems peculiarly appropriate to this part of our subject. “The constitution of the United States,” say the court, “was ordained and established, not by the states in their sovereign capacities, but emphatically, as the preamble of the constitution declares, by the people of the United States.16 There can be no doubt, that it was competent to the people to invest the general government with all the powers, which they might deem proper and necessary; to extend or restrain those powers according to their own good pleasure; and to give them a paramount and supreme authority. As little doubt can there be, that the people had a right to prohibit to the states the exercise of any powers, which were in their judgment incompatible with the objects of the general compact; to make the powers of the state governments, in given cases, subordinate to those of the nation; or to reserve to themselves those sovereign authorities, which they might not choose to delegate to either. The constitution was hot, therefore, necessarily carved out of existing state sovereignties, nor a surrender of powers already existing in state institutions. For the powers of the state governments depend upon their own constitutions; and the people of every state had a right to modify or restrain them according to their own views of policy or principle. On the other hand, it is perfectly clear, that the sovereign powers, vested in the state governments by their respective constitutions, remained unaltered and unimpaired, except so far as they were granted to the government of the United States.” These deductions do not rest upon general reason, plain and obvious as they seem to be. They have been positively recognised by one of the articles in amendment of the constitution, which declares, that “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.”17

” The government, then, of the United States, can claim no powers, which are not granted to it by the constitution; and the powers actually granted must be such, as are expressly given, or given by necessary implication. On the other hand, this instrument, like every other grant, is to have a reasonable construction according to the import of its terms. And where a power is expressly given in general terms, it is not to be restrained to particular cases, unless that construction grows out of the context expressly, or by necessary implication. The words are to be taken in their natural and obvious sense, and not in a sense unreasonably restricted or enlarged.”

§ 418. A still more striking response to the argument for a strict construction of the constitution will be found in the language of the court, in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden, (9 Wheat. 1, &c.) Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court, says, “This instrument contains an enumeration of powers expressly granted by the people to their government. It has been said, that these powers ought to be construed strictly. But why ought they to be so construed? Is there one sentence in the constitution, which gives countenance to this rule? In the last of the enumerated powers, that, which grants expressly the means for carrying all others into execution, congress is authorized `to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper’ for the purpose. But this limitation on the means, which may be used, is not extended to the powers, which are conferred; nor is there one sentence in the constitution, which has been pointed out by the gentlemen of the bar, or which we have been able to discern, that prescribes this rule. We do not, therefore, think ourselves justified in adopting it. What do gentlemen mean by a strict construction? If they contend only against that enlarged construction, which would extend words beyond their natural and obvious import, we might question the application of the terms, but should not controvert the principle. If they contend for that narrow construction, which, in support of some theory not to be found in the constitution, would deny to the government those powers, which the words of the grant, as usually understood, import, and which are consistent with the general views and objects of the instrument; for that narrow construction, which would cripple the government, and render it unequal to the objects, for which it is declared to be instituted, and to which the powers given, as fairly understood, render it competent; then we cannot perceive the propriety of this strict construction, nor adopt it as the rule, by which the constitution is to be expounded. As men, whose intentions require no concealment, generally employ the words, which most directly and aptly express the ideas they intend to convey; the enlightened patriots, who framed our constitution, and the people, who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended, what they have said. If, from the imperfection of human language, there should be serious doubts respecting the extent of any given power, it is a well settled rule, that the objects, for which it was given, especially, when those objects are expressed in the instrument itself, should have great influence in the construction. We know of no reason for excluding this rule from the present case. The grant does not convey power, which might be beneficial to the grantor, if retained by himself, or which can ensure solely to the benefit of the grantee; but is an investment of power for the general advantage, in the hands of agents selected for that purpose; which power can never be exercised by the people themselves, but must be placed in the hands of agents, or lie dormant. We know of no rule for construing the extent of such powers, other than is given by the language of the instrument, which confers them, taken in connection with the purposes, for which they were conferred.”18

§ 419. IV. From the foregoing considerations we deduce the conclusion, that as a frame or fundamental law of government, (2.) The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the constitution; that, which will give it efficacy and force, as a government, rather than that, which will impair its operations, and reduce it to a state of imbecility. Of course we do not mean, that the words for this purpose are to be strained beyond their common and natural sense; but keeping within that limit, the exposition is to have a fair and just latitude, so as on the one hand to avoid obvious mischief, and on the other hand to promote the public good.19

§ 420. This consideration is of great importance in construing a frame of government; and a fortiori a frame of government, the free and voluntary institution of the people for their common benefit, security, and happiness. It is wholly unlike the case of a municipal charter, or a private grant, in respect both to its means and its ends. When a person makes a private grant of a particular thing, or of a license to do a thing, or of an easement for the exclusive benefit of the grantee, we naturally confine the terms, however general, to the objects clearly in the view of the parties. But even in such cases, doubtful words, within the scope of those objects, are construed most favorably for the grantee; because, though in derogation of the rights of the grantor, they are promotive of the general rights secured to the grantee. But, where the grant enures, solely and exclusively, for the benefit of the grantor himself, no one would deny the propriety of giving to the words of the grant a benign and liberal interpretation. In cases, however, of private grants, the objects generally are few; they are certain; they are limited; they neither require, nor look to a variety of means or changes, which are to control, or modify either the end, or the means.

§ 421. In regard also to municipal charters, or public grants, similar considerations usually apply. They are generally deemed restrictive of the royal or public prerogative, or of the common rights secured by the actual organization of the government to other individuals, or communities. They are supposed to be procured, not so much for public good, as for private or local convenience. They are supposed to arise from personal solicitation, upon general suggestions, and not ex certâ causâ, or ex mero motu of the king, or government itself. Hence, such charters are often required by the municipal jurisprudence to be construed strictly, because they yield something, which is common, for the benefit of a few. And yet, where it is apparent, that they proceed upon greater or broader motives, a liberal exposition is not only indulged, but is encouraged, if it manifestly promotes the public good.20 So that we see, that even in these cases, common sense often dictates a departure from a narrow and strict construction of the terms, though the ordinary rules of mere municipal law may not have favored it.

§ 422. But a constitution of government, founded by the people for themselves and their posterity, and for objects of the most momentous nature, for perpetual union, for the establishment of justice, for the general welfare, and for a perpetuation of the blessings of liberty, necessarily requires, that every interpretation of its powers should have a constant reference to these objects. No interpretation of the words, in which those powers are granted, can be a sound one, which narrows down their ordinary import, so as to defeat those objects. That would be to destroy the spirit, and to cramp the letter. It has been justly observed, that “the constitution unavoidably deals in general language. It did not suit the purposes of the people, in framing this great charter of our liberties, to provide for minute specification of its powers, or to declare the means, by which those powers should be carried into execution. It was foreseen, that it would be a perilous, and difficult, if not an impracticable task. The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies of a few years; but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence. It could not be foreseen, what new changes and modifications of power might be indispensable to effectuate the general objects of the charter; and restrictions and specifications, which at the present might seem salutary, might in the end prove the overthrow of the system itself. Hence its powers are expressed in general terms, leaving the legislature, from time to time, to adopt its own means to effectuate legitimate objects, and to mould and model the exercise of its powers, as its own wisdom and the public interests should require.”21 Language to the same effect will be found in other judgments of the same tribunal.22

§ 423. If, then, we are to give a reasonable construction to this instrument, as a constitution of government established for the common good, we must throw aside all notions of subjecting it to a strict interpretation, as if it were subversive of the great interests of society, or derogated from the inherent sovereignty of the people. And this will naturally lead us to some other rules properly belonging to the subject.

§ 424. V. Where the power is granted in general terms, the power is to be construed, as coextensive with the terms, unless some clear restriction upon it is deducible from the context. We do not mean to assert, that it is necessary, that such restriction should be expressly found in the context. It will be sufficient, if it arise by necessary implication. But it is not sufficient to show, that there was, or might have been, a sound or probable motive to restrict it. A restriction founded on conjecture is wholly inadmissible. The reason is obvious: the text was adopted by the people in its obvious, and general sense. We have no means of knowing, that any particular gloss, short of this sense, was either contemplated, or approved by the people; and such a gloss might, though satisfactory in one state, have been the very ground of objection in another. It might have formed a motive to reject it in one, and to adopt it in another. The sense of a part of the people has no title to be deemed the sense of the whole. Motives of state policy, or state interest, may properly have influence in the question of ratifying it; but the constitution itself must be expounded, as it stands; and not as that policy, or that interest may seem now to dictate. We are to construe, and not to frame the instrument.23

§ 425. VI. A power, given in general terms, is not to be restricted to particular cases, merely because it may be susceptible of abuse, and, if abused, may lead to mischievous consequences. This argument is often used in public debate; and in its common aspect addresses itself so much to popular fears and prejudices, that it insensibly acquires a weight in the public mind, to which it is no wise entitled. The argument ab inconvenienti is sufficiently open to question, from the laxity of application, as well as of opinion, to which it leads. But the argument from a possible abuse of a power against its existence or use, is, in its nature, not only perilous, but, in respect to governments, would shake their very foundation. Every form of government unavoidably includes a grant of some discretionary powers. It would be wholly imbecile without them. It is impossible to foresee all the exigencies, which may arise in the progress of events, connected with the rights, duties, and operations of a government. If they could be foreseen, it would be impossible ab ante to provide for them. The means must be subject to perpetual modification, and change; they must be adapted to the existing manners, habits, and institutions of society, which are never stationary; to the pressure of dangers, or necessities; to the ends in view; to general and permanent operations, as well as to fugitive and extraordinary emergencies. In short, if the whole society is not to be revolutionized at every critical period, and remodeled in every generation, there must be left to those, who administer the government, a very large mass of discretionary powers, capable of greater or less actual expansion according to circumstances, and sufficiently flexible not to involve the nation in utter destruction from the rigid limitations imposed upon it by an improvident jealousy. Every power, however limited, as well as broad, is in its own nature susceptible of abuse. No constitution can provide perfect guards against it. Confidence must be reposed somewhere; and in free governments, the ordinary securities against abuse are found in the responsibility of rulers to the people, and in the just exercise of their elective franchise; and ultimately in the sovereign power of change belonging to them, in cases requiring extraordinary remedies. Few cases are to be supposed, in which a power, however general, will be exerted for the permanent oppression of the people.24 And yet, cases may easily be put, in which a limitation upon such a power might be found in practice to work mischief; to incite foreign aggression; or encourage domestic disorder. The power of taxation, for instance, may be carried to a ruinous excess; and yet, a limitation upon that power might, in a given case, involve the destruction of the independence of the country.

§ 426. VII. On the other hand, a rule of equal importance is, not to enlarge the construction of a given power beyond the fair scope of its terms, merely because the restriction is inconvenient, impolitic, or even mischievous.25 If it be mischievous, the power of redressing the evil lies with the people by an exercise of the power of amendment. If they do not choose to apply the remedy, it may fairly be presumed, that the mischief is less than what would arise from a further extension of the power; or that it is the least of two evils. Nor should it ever be lost sight of, that the government of the United States is one of limited and enumerated powers; and that a departure from the true import and sense of its powers is, pro tanto, the establishment of a new constitution. It is doing for the people, what they have not chosen to do for themselves It is usurping the functions of a legislator, and deserting those of an expounder of the law. Arguments drawn from impolicy or inconvenience ought here to be of no weight. The only sound principle is to declare, ita lex scripta est, to follow, and to obey. Nor, if a principle so just and conclusive could be overlooked, could there well be found a more unsafe guide in practice, than mere policy and convenience Men on such subjects complexionally differ from each other. The same men differ from themselves at different times. Temporary delusions, prejudices, excitements, and objects have irresistible influence in mere questions of policy. And the policy of one age may ill suit the wishes, or the policy of another. The constitution is not to be subject to such fluctuations. It is to have a fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be, so far at least as human infirmity will allow, not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, today, and forever.

§ 427. It has been observed with great correctness, that although the spirit of an instrument, especially of a constitution, is to be respected not less than its letter; yet the spirit is to be collected chiefly from the letter. It would be dangerous in the extreme, to infer from extrinsic circumstances, that a case, for which the words of an instrument expressly provide, shall be exempted from its operation. Where words conflict with each other, where the different clauses of an instrument bear upon each other, and would be inconsistent, unless the natural and common import of words be varied, construction becomes necessary, and a departure from the obvious meaning of words is justifiable. But if, in any case, the plain meaning of a provision, not contradicted by any other provision in the same instrument, is to be disregarded, because we believe the framers of that instrument could not intend what they say, it must be one, where the absurdity and injustice of applying the provision to the case would be so monstrous, that all mankind would, without hesitation, unite in rejecting the application.26 This language has reference to a case where the words of a constitutional provision are sought to be restricted. But it appears with equal force where they are sought to be enlarged.

§ 428. VIII. No construction of a given power is to be allowed, which plainly defeats, or impairs its avowed objects. If, therefore, the words are fairly susceptible of two interpretations, according to their common sense and use, the one of which would defeat one, or all of the objects, for which it was obviously given, and the other of which would preserve and promote all, the former interpretation ought to be rejected, and the latter be held the true interpretation. This rule results from the dictates of mere common sense; for every instrument ought to be so construed, ut magis valeat, quam pereat.27 For instance, the constitution confers on congress the power to declare war. Now the word declare has several senses. It may mean to proclaim, or publish. But no person would imagine, that this was the whole sense, in which the word is used in this connection. It should be interpreted in the sense, in which the phrase is used among nations, when applied to such a subject matter. A power to declare war is a power to make, and carry on war. It is not a mere power to make known an existing thing, but to give life and effect to the thing itself.28 The true doctrine has been expressed by the Supreme Court: “If from the imperfection of human language there should be any serious doubts respecting the extent of any given power, the objects, for which it was given, especially when those objects are expressed in the instrument itself, should have great influence in the construction.”29

§ 429. IX. Where a power is remedial in its nature, there is much reason to contend, that it ought to be construed liberally. That was the doctrine of Mr. Chief Justice Jay, in Chisholm v. Georgia;30 and it is generally adopted in the interpretation of laws.31 But this liberality of exposition is clearly inadmissible, if it extends beyond the just and ordinary sense of the terms.

§ 430. X. In the interpretation of a power, all the ordinary and appropriate means to execute it are to be deemed a part of the power itself. This results from the very nature and design of a constitution. In giving the power, it does not intend to limit it to any one mode of exercising it, exclusive of all others. It must be obvious, (as has been already suggested,) that the means of carrying into effect the objects of a power may, nay, must be varied, in order to adapt themselves to the exigencies of the nation at different times.32 A mode efficacious and useful in one age, or under one posture of circumstances, may be wholly vain, or even mischievous at another time. Government presupposes the existence of a perpetual mutability in its own operations on those, who are its subjects; and a perpetual flexibility in adapting itself to their wants, their interests, their habits, their occupations, and their infirmities.33

§ 431. Besides; if the power only is given, without pointing out the means, how are we to ascertain, that any one means, rather than another, is exclusively within its scope? The same course of reasoning, which would deny a choice of means to execute the power, would reduce the power itself to a nullity. For, as it never could be demonstrated, that any one mode in particular was intended, and to be exclusively employed; and, as it might be demonstrated, that other means might be employed, the question, whether the power were rightfully put into exercise, would forever be subject to doubt and controversy. If one means is adopted to give it effect, and is within its scope, because it is appropriate, how are we to escape from the argument, that another, falling within the same predicament, is equally within its scope? If each is equally appropriate, how is the choice to be made between them? If one is selected, how does that exclude all others? If one is more appropriate at one time, and another at another time, where is the restriction to be found, which allows the one, and denies the other? A power granted in a frame of government is not contemplated to be exhausted in a single exertion of it, or uno flatu. It is intended for free and permanent exercise; and if the discretion of the functionaries, who are to exercise it, is not limited, that discretion, especially, as those functionaries must necessarily change, must be coextensive with the power itself. Take, for instance, the power to make war. In one age, this would authorize the purchase and employment of the weapons then ordinarily used for this purpose. But suppose these weapons are wholly laid aside, and others substituted, more efficient and powerful; is the government prohibited from employing the new modes of offence and defence? Surely not. The invention of gunpowder superseded the old modes of warfare, and may perhaps, by future inventions, be superseded in its turn. No one can seriously doubt, that the new modes would be within the scope of the power to make war, if they were appropriate to the end. It would, indeed, be a most extraordinary mode of interpretation of the constitution, to give such a restrictive meaning to its powers, as should obstruct their fair operation. A power being given, it is the interest of the nation to facilitate its execution. It can never be their interest, and cannot be presumed to be their intention, to clog and embarrass its execution, by withholding the most appropriate means. There can be no reasonable ground for preferring that construction, which would render the operations of the government difficult, hazardous, and expensive; or for imputing to the framers of the constitution a design to impede the exercise of its powers, by withholding a choice of means.

§ 432. In the practical application of government, then, the public functionaries must be left at liberty to exercise the powers, with which the people by the constitution and laws have entrusted them. They must have a wide discretion, as to the choice of means; and the only limitation upon that discretion would seem to be, that the means are appropriate to the end. And this must naturally admit of considerable latitude; for the relation between the action and the end has has been justly remarked) is not always so direct and palpable, as to strike the eye of every observer.34 If the end be legitimate and within the scope of the constitution, all the means, which are appropriate, and which are plainly adapted to that end, and which are not prohibited, may be constitutionally employed to carry it into effect.35 When, then, it is asked, who is to judge of the necessity and propriety of the laws to be passed for executing the powers of the Union, the true answer is, that the national government, like every other, must judge in the first instance of the proper exercise of its powers; and its constituents in the last. If the means are within the reach of the power, no other department can inquire into the policy or convenience of the use of them. If there be an excess by overleaping the just boundary of the power, the judiciary may generally afford the proper relief; and in the last resort the people, by adopting such measures to redress it, as the exigency may suggest, and prudence may dictate.36

§ 433. XI. And this leads us to remark, in the next place, that in the interpretation of the constitution there is no solid objection to implied powers.37 Had the faculties of man been competent to the framing of a system of government, which would leave nothing to implication, it cannot be doubted, that the effort would have been made by the framers of our constitution. The fact, however, is otherwise. There is not in the whole of that admirable instrument a grant of powers, which does not draw after it others, not expressed, but vital to their exercise; not substantive and independent, indeed, but auxiliary and subordinate.38 There is no phrase in it, which, like the articles of confederation,39 excludes incidental and implied powers, and which requires, that everything granted shall be expressly and minutely described. Even the tenth amendment, which was framed for the purpose of quieting the excessive jealousies, which had been excited, omits the word “expressly,” (which was contained in the articles of confederation,) and declares only, that “the powers, not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people;” thus leaving the question, whether the particular power, which may become the subject of contest, has been delegated to the one government, or prohibited to the other, to depend upon a fair construction of the whole instrument. The men, who drew and adopted this amendment, had experienced the embarrassments, resulting from the insertion of this word in the articles of confederation, and probably omitted it to avoid those embarrassments. A constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the subdivisions, of which its great powers will admit, and of all the means, by which these may be carried into execution, would partake of the prolixity of a legal code, and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind. It would probably never be understood by the public. Its nature, therefore, requires, that only its great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated, and the minor ingredient which compose those objects, be deduced from the nature of those objects themselves. That this idea was entertained by the framers of the American constitution, is not only to be inferred from the nature of the instrument, but from the language. Why, else, were some of the limitations, found in the ninth section of the first article, introduced? It is also, in some degree, warranted, by their having omitted to use any restrictive term, which might prevent its receiving a fair and just interpretation. In considering this point, we should never forget, that it is a constitution we are expounding.40

§ 434. The reasoning of the Federalist is to the same effect. Every power, which is the means of carrying into effect a given power, is implied from the very nature of the original grant. It is a necessary and unavoidable implication from the act of constituting a government, and vesting it with certain specified powers. What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the means necessary to its execution? What is a legislative power, but a power of making laws? What are the means to execute a legislative power, but laws?41 No axiom, indeed, is more clearly established in law or in reason, than that, where the end is required, the means are authorized. Whenever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included. In every new application of a general power, the particular power, which are the means of attaining the object of the general power, must always necessarily vary with that object; and be often properly varied, whilst the object remains the same.42 Even under the confederation, where the delegation of authority was confined to express powers, the Federalist remarks, that it would be easy to show, that no important power delegated by the articles of confederation had been, or could be, executed by congress, without recurring more or less to the doctrine of construction or implication!43

§ 435. XII. Another point, in regard to the interpretation of the constitution, requires us to advert to the rules applicable to cases of concurrent and exclusive powers. In what cases are the powers given to the general government exclusive, and in what cases may the states maintain a concurrent exercise? Upon this subject we have an elaborate exposition by the authors of the Federalist;44 and as it involves some of the most delicate questions growing out of the constitution, and those, in which a conflict with the states is most likely to arise, we cannot do better than to quote the reasoning.

§ 436. “An entire consolidation of the states into one complete national sovereignty, would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the state governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty, which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States. This exclusive delegation, or rather this alienation of state sovereignty, would only exist in three cases: where the constitution in express terms granted an exclusive authority to the Union; where it granted, in one instance, an authority to the Union, and in another, prohibited the states from exercising the like authority; and where it granted an authority to the Union, to which a similar authority in the states would be absolutely and totally contradictory and repugnant. I use these terms to distinguish this last case from another, which might appear to resemble it; but which would, in fact, be essentially different: I mean, where the exercise of a concurrent jurisdiction might be productive of occasional interferences in the policy of any branch of administration, but would not imply any direct contradiction or repugnancy in point of constitutional authority. These three cases of exclusive jurisdiction in the federal government, may be exemplified by the following instances. The last clause but one in the eighth section of the first article, provides expressly, that congress shall exercise ‘exclusive legislation ‘ over the district to be appropriated as the seat of government. This answers to the first case. The first clause of the same section empowers congress ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; ‘ and the second clause of the tenth section of the same article declares, that ‘no state shall, without the consent of congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except for the purpose of executing its inspection laws; Hence would result an exclusive power in the Union to lay duties on imports and exports, with the particular exception mentioned. But this power is abridged by another clause, which declares, that no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state; in consequence of which qualification, it now only extends to the duties on imports. This answers to the second case. The third will be found in that clause, which declares, that congress shall have power ‘to establish an uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United States.‘ This must necessarily be exclusive; because, if each state had power to prescribe a distinct rule, there could be no uniform rule.” The correctness of these rules of interpretation has never been controverted; and they have been often recognised by the Supreme Court.45

§ 437. The two first rules are so completely self-evident, that every attempt to illustrate them would be vain, if it had not a tendency to perplex and confuse. The last rule, viz. that which declares, that the power is exclusive in the national government, where an authority is granted to the Union, to which a similar authority in the states would be absolutely and totally contradictory and repugnant, is that alone, which may be thought to require comment. This rule seems, in its own nature, as little susceptible of doubt, as the others in reference to the constitution. For, since the constitution has declared, that the constitution and laws, and treaties in pursuance of it shall be the supreme law of the land; it would be absurd to say, that a state law, repugnant to it, might have concurrent operation and validity; and especially, as it is expressly added, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. The repugnancy, then, being made out, it follows, that the state law is just as much void, as though it had been expressly declared to be void; or the power in congress had been expressly declared to be exclusive. Every power given to congress is by the constitution necessarily supreme; and if, from its nature, or from the words of the grant, it is apparently intended to be exclusive, it is as much so, as if the states were expressly forbidden to exercise it.46

§ 438. The principal difficulty lies, not so much in the rule, as in its application to particular cases. Here, the field for discussion is wide, and the argument upon construction is susceptible of great modifications, and of very various force. But unless, from the nature of the power, or from the obvious results of its operations, a repugnancy must exist, so as to lead to a necessary conclusion, that the power was intended to be exclusive, the true rule of interpretation is, that the power is merely concurrent. Thus, for instance, an affirmative power in congress to lay taxes, is not necessarily incompatible with a like power in the States. Both may exist without interference; and if any interference should arise in a particular case, the question of supremacy would turn, not upon the nature of the power, but upon supremacy of right in the exercise of the power in that case.47 In our complex system, presenting the rare and difficult scheme of one general government, whose action extends over the whole, but which possesses only enumerated powers, and of numerous state governments, which retain and exercise many powers not delegated to the Union, contests respecting power must arise. Were it even otherwise, the measures taken by the respective governments to execute their acknowledged powers would be often of the same description, and might sometimes interfere. This, however, does not prove, that the one is exercising, or has a right to exercise, the powers of the other.48

§ 439. And this leads us to remark, that in the exercise of concurrent powers, if there be a conflict between the laws of the Union and the laws of the state, the former being supreme, the latter must of course yield. The possibility, nay the probability, of such a conflict was foreseen by the framers of the constitution, and was accordingly expressly provided for. If a state passes a law inconsistent with the constitution of the United States it is a mere nullity. If it passes a law clearly within its own constitutional powers, still if it conflicts with the exercise of a power given to congress, to the extent of the interference its operation is suspended; for, in a conflict of laws, that which is supreme must govern. Therefore, it has often been adjudged, that if a state law is in conflict with a treaty, or an act of congress, it becomes ipso facto inoperative to the extent of the conflict.49

§ 440. From this great rule, that the constitution and laws, made in pursuance thereof, are supreme; and that they control the constitutions and laws of the states, and cannot be controlled by them, from this, which may be deemed an axiom, other auxiliary corollaries may be deduced. In the first place, that, if a power is given to create a thing, it implies a power to preserve it. Secondly, that a power to destroy, if wielded by a different hand, is hostile to and incompatible with this power to create and preserve. Thirdly, that where this repugnancy exists, the authority, which is supreme, must control, and not yield to that, over which it is supreme.50 Consequently, the inferior power becomes a nullity.51

§ 441. But a question of a still more delicate nature may arise; and that is, how far in the exercise of a concurrent power, the actual legislation of congress supersedes the state legislation, or suspends its operation over the subject matter. Are the state laws inoperative only to the extent of the actual conflict; or does the legislation of congress suspend the legislative power of the states over the subject matter? To such an inquiry, probably, no universal answer could be given. It may depend upon the nature of the power, the effect of the actual exercise, and the extent of the subject matter.

§ 442. This may, perhaps, be best illustrated by putting a case, which has been reasoned out by a very learned judge, in his own words:52 “Congress has power,” says he, “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia; and it is presumable, that the framers of the constitution contemplated a full exercise of all these powers. Nevertheless, if congress had declined to exercise them, it was competent to the state governments to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining their respective militia in such manner, as they might think proper. But congress has provided for these subjects in the way, which that body must have supposed the best calculated to promote the general welfare, and to provide for the national defence. After this, can the state governments enter upon the same ground, provide for the same objects, as they may think proper, and punish, in their own way, violations of the laws they have so enacted? The affirmative of this question is asserted by counsel, etc. who contend, that unless such state laws are in direct contradiction to those of the United States, they are not repugnant to the constitution of the United States. – From this doctrine I must, for one, be permitted to dissent. The two laws may not be in such absolute opposition to each other, as to render the one incapable of execution without violating the injunctions of the other; and yet the will of the one legislature may be in direct collision with that of the other. This will is to be discovered, as well by what the legislature has not declared, as by what they have expressed. Congress, for example, have declared, that the punishment for disobedience of the act of congress shall be a certain fine. If that provided by the state legislature for the same offence be a similar fine with the addition of imprisonment or death, the latter law would not prevent the former from being carried into execution, and may be said, therefore, not to be repugnant to it. But surely the will of Congress is nevertheless thwarted and opposed.”53 He adds, “I consider it a novel and unconstitutional doctrine, that in cases, where the state governments have a concurrent power of legislation with the national government, they may legislate upon any subject, on which congress has acted, provided the two laws are not in terms, or in their operation contradictory and repugnant to each other.”54

§ 443. Another illustration may be drawn from the opinion of the court in another highly important case. One question was, whether the power of congress to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies was exclusive, or concurrent with the states. “It does not appear,” it was then said, “to be a violent construction of the constitution, and is certainly a convenient one, to consider the power of the states as existing over such cases, as the laws of the Union may not reach. Be this as it may, the power of congress may be exercised, or declined, as the wisdom of that body shall decide. If, in the opinion of congress, uniform laws concerning bankruptcies ought not to be established, it does not follow, that partial laws may not exist, or that state legislation on the subject must cease. It is not the mere existence of the power, but its exercise, which is incompatible with the exercise of the same power by the states. It is not the right to establish these uniform laws; but their actual establishment, which is inconsistent with the partial acts of the states. If the right of the states to pass a bankrupt law is not taken away by the mere grant of that power to congress, it cannot be extinguished. It can only be suspended by the enactment of a general bankrupt law. The repeal of that law cannot, it is true, confer the power on the states; but it removes a disability to its exercise, which was created by the act of congress.”55

It is not our intention to comment on these cases; but to offer them as examples of reasoning in favor and against the exclusive power, where a positive repugnancy cannot be predicated.

§ 444. It has been sometimes argued, that when a power is granted to congress to legislate in specific cases, for purposes growing out of the Union, the natural conclusion is, that the power is designed to be exclusive; that the power is to be exercised for the good of the whole by the will of the whole, and consistently with the interests of the whole; and that these objects can nowhere be so clearly seen, or so thoroughly weighed, as in congress, where the whole nation is represented. But the argument proves too much; and pursued to its full extent, it would establish, that all the powers granted to congress are exclusive, unless where concurrent authority is expressly reserved to the states.56 For instance, upon this reasoning the power of taxation in congress would annul the whole power of taxation of the states; and thus operate a virtual dissolution of their sovereignty. Such a pretension has been constantly disclaimed.

§ 445. On the other hand, it has been maintained with great pertinacity, that the states possess concurrent authority with congress in all cases, where the power is not expressly declared to be exclusive, or expressly prohibited to the states; and if, in the exercise of a concurrent power, a conflict arises, there is no reason, why each should not be deemed equally rightful.57 But it is plain, that this reasoning goes to the direct overthrow of the principle of supremacy; and, if admitted, it would enable the subordinate sovereignty to annul the powers of the superior. There is a plain repugnance in conferring on one government a power to control the constitutional measures of another, which other, with respect to these very measures, is declared to be supreme over that, which exerts the control.58 For instance, the states have acknowledgedly a concurrent power of taxation. But it is wholly inadmissible to allow that power to be exerted over any instrument employed by the general government to execute its own powers; for such a power to tax involves a power to destroy; and this power to destroy may defeat, and render useless the power to create.59 Thus a state may not tax the mail, the mint, patent rights, custom-house papers, or judicial process of the courts of the United States.60 And yet there is no clause in the constitution, which prohibits the states from exercising the power; nor any exclusive grant to the United States. The apparent repugnancy creates, by implication, the prohibition. So congress, by the constitution, possess power to provide for governing such part of the militia, as may be employed in the service of the United States. Yet it is not said, that such power of government is exclusive. But it results from the nature of the power. No person would contend, that a state militia, while in the actual service and employment of the United States, might yet be, at the same time, governed and controlled by the laws of the state. The very nature of military operations would, in such case, require unity of command and direction. And the argument from inconvenience would be absolutely irresistible to establish an implied prohibition.61 On the other hand, congress have power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia; but if congress should make no such provision, there seems no reason, why the states may not organize, arm, and discipline their own militia. No necessary incompatibility would exist in the nature of the power; though, when exercised by congress, the authority of the states must necessarily yield. And, here, the argument from inconvenience would be very persuasive the other way. For the power to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, in the absence of congressional legislation, would seem indispensable for the defence and security of the states.62 Again, congress have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions. But there does not seem any incompatibility in the states calling out their own militia as auxiliaries for the same purpose.63

§ 446. In considering, then, this subject, it would be impracticable to lay down any universal rule, as to what powers are, by implication, exclusive in the general government, or concurrent in the states; and in relation to the latter, what restrictions either on the power itself, or on the actual exercise of the power, arise by implication. In some cases, as we have seen, there may exist a concurrent power, and yet restrictions upon it must exist in regard to objects. In other cases, the actual operations of the power only are suspended or controlled, when there arises a conflict with the actual operations of the Union. Every question of this sort must be decided by itself upon its own circumstances and reasons. Because the power to regulate commerce, from its nature and objects, is exclusive, it does not follow, that the power to pass bankrupt laws also is exclusive.64

§ 447. We may, however, lay down some few rules, deducible from what has been already said, in respect to cases of implied prohibitions upon the existence or exercise of powers by the states, as guides to aid our inquiries. (1.) Wherever the power given to the general government requires, that, to be efficacious and adequate to its end, it should be exclusive, there arises a just implication for deeming it exclusive. Whether exercised, or not, in such a case makes no difference. (2.) Wherever the power in its own nature is not incompatible with a concurrent power in the states, either in its nature or exercise, there the power belongs to the states. (3.) But in such a case, the concurrency of the power may admit of restrictions or qualifications in its nature, or exercise. In its nature, when it is capable from its general character of being applied to objects or purposes, which would control, defeat, or destroy the powers of the general government. In its exercise, when there arises a conflict in the actual laws and regulations made in pursuance of the power by the general and state governments. In the former case there is a qualification engrafted upon the generality of the power, excluding its application to such objects and purposes. In the latter, there is (at least generally) a qualification, not upon the power itself, but only upon its exercise, to the extent of the actual conflict in the operations of each. (4.) In cases of implied limitations or prohibitions of power, it is not sufficient to show a possible, or potential inconvenience. There must be a plain incompatibility, a direct repugnancy, or an extreme practical inconvenience, leading irresistibly to the same conclusion. (5.) If such incompatibility, repugnancy, or extreme inconvenience would result, it is no answer, that in the actual exercise of the power, each party may, if it chooses, avoid a positive interference with the other. The objection lies to the power itself, and not to the exercise of it. If it exists, it may be applied to the extent of controlling, defeating, or destroying the other. It can never be presumed, that the framers of the constitution, declared to be supreme, could intend to put its powers at hazard upon the good wishes, or good intentions, or discretion of the states in the exercise of their acknowledged powers. (6.) Where no such repugnancy, incompatibility, or extreme inconvenience would result, then the power in the states is restrained, not in its nature, but in its operations, and then only to the extent of the actual interference. In fact, it is obvious, that the same means may often be applied to carry into operation different powers. And a state may use the same means to effectuate an acknowledged power in itself, which congress may apply for another purpose in the acknowledged exercise of a very different power. Congress may make that a regulation of commerce, which a state may employ as a guard for its internal policy, or to preserve the public health or peace, or to promote its own peculiar interests.65 These rules seem clearly deducible from the nature of the instrument; and they are confirmed by the positive injunctions of the tenth amendment of the constitution.

§ 448. XIII. Another rule of interpretation deserves consideration in regard to the constitution. There are certain maxims, which have found their way, not only into judicial discussions, but into the business of common life, as founded in common sense, and common convenience. Thus, it is often said, that in an instrument a specification of particulars is an exclusion of generals; or the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. Lord Bacon’s remark, “that, as exception strengthens the force of a law in cases not excepted, so enumeration weakens it in cases not enumerated,” has been perpetually referred to, as a fine illustration. These maxims, rightly understood, and rightly applied, undoubtedly furnish safe guides to assist us in the task of exposition. But they are susceptible of being applied, and indeed are often ingeniously applied, to the subversion of the text, and the objects of the instrument. Thus, it has been suggested, that an affirmative provision in a particular case excludes the existence of the like provision in every other case; and a negative provision in a particular case admits the existence of the same thing in every other case.66 Both of these deductions are, or rather may be, unfounded in solid reasoning.67 Thus, it was objected to the constitution, that, having provided for the trial by jury in criminal cases, there was an implied exclusion of it in civil cases. As if there was not an essential difference between silence and abolition, between a positive adoption of it in one class of cases, and a discretionary right (it being clearly within the reach of the judicial powers confided to the Union) to adopt, or reject it in all or any other cases.68 One might with just as much propriety hold, that, because congress has power “to declare war,” but no power is expressly given to make peace, the latter is excluded; or that, because it is declared, that “no bill of attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed” by congress, therefore congress possess in all other cases the right to pass any laws. The truth is, that in order to ascertain, how far an affirmative or negative provision excludes, or implies others, we must look to the nature of the provision, the subject matter, the objects, and the scope of the instrument. These, and these only, can properly determine the rule of construction. There can be no doubt, that an affirmative grant of powers in many cases will imply an exclusion of all others. As, for instance, the constitution declares, that the powers of congress shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretensions to a general legislative authority. Why? Because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority were intended.69 In relation, then, to such a subject as a constitution, the natural and obvious sense of its provisions, apart from any technical or artificial rules, is the true criterion of construction.70

§ 449. XIV. Another rule of interpretation of the constitution, suggested by the foregoing, is, that the natural import of a single clause is not to be narrowed, so as to exclude implied powers resulting from its character, simply because there is another clause, which enumerates certain powers, which might otherwise be deemed implied powers within its scope; for in such cases we are not, as a matter of course, to assume, that the affirmative specification excludes all other implications. This rule has been put in a clear and just light by one of our most distinguished statesmen; and his illustration will be more satisfactory, perhaps, than any other, which can be offered. “The constitution,” says he, “vests in congress, expressly, the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and the power to regulate trade. That the former power, if not particularly expressed, would have been included in the latter, as one of the objects of a general power to regulate trade, is not necessarily impugned by its being so expressed. Examples of this sort cannot sometimes be easily avoided, and are to be seen elsewhere in the constitution. Thus, the power ‘to define and punish offences against the law of nations’ includes the power, afterwards particularly expressed, ‘to make rules concerning captures,’ etc. from offending neutrals. So, also, a power ‘to coin money’ would, doubtless, include that of ‘ regulating its value,’ had not the latter power been expressly inserted. The term taxes, if standing alone, would certainly have included ‘duties, imposts, and excises.’ In another clause it is said, ‘ no tax or duty shall be laid on exports.’ Here the two terms are used as synonymous. And in another clause, where it is said ‘no state shall lay any imposts or duties,’ etc. the terms imposts and duties are synonymous. Pleonasms, tautologies, and the promiscuous use of terms and phrases, differing in their shades of meaning, (always to be expounded with reference to the context, and under the control of the general character and scope of the instrument, in which they are found,) are to be ascribed, sometimes to the purposes of greater caution, sometimes to the imperfection of language, and sometimes to the imperfection of man himself. In this view of the subject it was quite natural, however certainly the power to regulate trade might include a power to impose duties on it, not to omit it in a clause enumerating the several modes of revenue authorized by the construction. In few cases could the [rule], ex majori cautela, occur with more claim to respect.”71

§ 450. We may close this view of some of the more important rules to be employed in the interpretation of the constitution, by adverting to a few belonging to mere verbal criticism, which are indeed but corollaries from what has been said, and have been already alluded to; but which, at the same time, it may be of some use again distinctly to enunciate.

§ 451. XV. In the first place, then, every word employed in the constitution is to be expounded in its plain, obvious, and common sense, unless the context furnishes some ground to control, qualify, or enlarge it. Constitutions are not designed for metaphysical or logical subtleties, for niceties of expression, for critical propriety, for elaborate shades of meaning, or for the exercise of philosophical acuteness, or judicial research. They are instruments of a practical nature, founded on the common business of human life, adapted to common wants, designed for common use, and fitted for common understandings. The people make them; the people adopt them; the people must be supposed to read them, with the help of common sense; and cannot be presumed to admit in them any recondite meaning, or any extraordinary gloss.

§ 452. XVI. But, in the next place, words, from the necessary imperfection of all human language, acquire different shades of meaning, each of which is equally appropriate, and equally legitimate; each of which recedes in a wider or narrower degree from the others, according to circumstances; and each of which receives from its general use some indefiniteness and obscurity, as to its exact boundary and extent.72 We are, indeed, often driven to multiply commentaries from the vagueness of words in themselves; and perhaps still more often from the different manner, in which different minds are accustomed to employ them. They expand or contract, not only from the conventional modifications introduced by the changes of society; but also from the more loose or more exact uses, to which men of different talents, acquirements, and tastes, from choice or necessity apply them. No person can fail to remark the gradual deflections in the meaning of words from one age to another; and so constantly is this process going on, that the daily language of life in one generation sometimes requires the aid of a glossary in another. It has been justly remarked,73 that no language is so copious, as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea; or so correct, as not to include many, equivocally denoting different ideas. Hence it must happen, that however accurately objects may be discriminated in themselves, and however accurately the discrimination may be considered, the definition of them may be rendered inaccurate by the inaccuracy of the terms, in which it is delivered. We must resort then to the context, and shape the particular meaning, so as to make it fit that of the connecting words, and agree with the subject matter.

§ 453. XVII. In the next place, where technical words are used, the technical meaning is to be applied to them, unless it is repelled by the context.74 But the same word often possesses a technical, and a common sense. In such a case the latter is to be preferred, unless some attendant circumstance points clearly to the former. No one would doubt, when the constitution has declared, that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless” under peculiar circumstances, that it referred, not to every sort of writ, which has acquired that name; but to that, which has been emphatically so called, on account of its remedial power to free a party from arbitrary imprisonment.75 So, again, when it declares, that in suits at common law, etc. the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, though the phrase “common law” admits of different meanings, no one can doubt, that it is used in a technical sense. When, again, it declares, that congress shall have power to provide a navy, we readily comprehend, that authority is given to construct, prepare, or in any other manner to obtain a navy. But when congress is further authorized to provide for calling forth the militia, we perceive at once, that the word “provide” is used in a somewhat different sense.

§ 454. XVIII. And this leads us to remark, in the next place, that it is by no means a correct rule of interpretation to construe the same word in the same sense, wherever it occurs in the same instrument. It does not follow, either logically or grammatically, that because a word is found in one connection in the constitution, with a definite sense, therefore the same sense is to be adopted in every other connection, in which it occurs.76 This would be to suppose, that the framers weighed only the force of single words, as philologists or critics, and not whole clauses and objects, as statesmen, and practical reasoners. And yet nothing has been more common, than to subject the constitution to this narrow and mischievous criticism. Men of ingenious and subtle minds, who seek for symmetry and harmony in language, having found in the constitution a word used in some sense, which falls in with their favorite theory of interpreting it, have made that the standard, by which to measure its use in every other part of the instrument. They have thus stretched it, as it were, on the bed of Procrustes, lopping off its meaning, when it seemed too large for their purposes, and extending it, when it seemed too short. They have thus distorted it to the most unnatural shapes, and crippled, where they have sought only to adjust its proportions according to their own opinions. It was very justly observed by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in The Cherokee Nation v. The State of Georgia,77 that “it has been said, that the same words have not necessarily the same meaning attached to them, when found in different parts of the same instrument. Their meaning is controlled by the context. This is undoubtedly true. In common language, the same word has various meanings; and the peculiar sense, in which it is used in any sentence, is to be determined by the context.” A very easy example of this sort will be found in the use of the word “establish,” which is found in various places in the constitution. Thus, in the preamble, one object of the constitution is avowed to be “to establish justice,” which seems here to mean to settle firmly, to fix unalterably, or rather, perhaps, as justice, abstractedly considered, must be considered as forever fixed and unalterable, to dispense or administer justice. Again, the constitution declares, that congress shall have power “to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies,” where it is manifestly used as equivalent to make, or form, and not to fix or settle unalterably and forever. Again, “congress shall have power to establish post-offices and post-roads,” where the appropriate sense would seem to be to create, to found, and to regulate, not so much with a view to permanence of form, as to convenience of action. Again, it is declared, that “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which seems to prohibit any laws, which shall recognise, found, confirm, or patronize any particular religion, or form of religion, whether permanent or temporary, whether already existing, or to arise in future. In this clause, establishment seems equivalent in meaning to settlement, recognition, or support. And again, in the preamble, it is said, “We, the people, etc. do ordain and establish this constitution,” etc. where the most appropriate sense seems to be to create, to ratify, and to confirm. So, the word “state” will be found used in the constitution in all the various senses, to which we have before alluded. It sometimes means, the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by these societies; sometimes these societies as organized into these particular governments; and lastly, sometimes the people composing these political societies in their highest sovereign capacity.78

§ 455. XIX. But the most important rule, in cases of this nature, is, that a constitution of government does not, and cannot, from its nature, depend in any great degree upon mere verbal criticism, or upon the import of single words. Such criticism may not be wholly without use; it may sometimes illustrate, or unfold the appropriate sense; but unless it stands well with the context and subject matter, it must yield to the latter. While, then, we may well resort to the meaning of single words to assist our inquiries, we should never forget, that it is an instrument of government we are to construe; and, as has been already stated, that must be the truest exposition, which best harmonizes with its design, its objects, and its general structure.79

§ 456. The remark of Mr. Burke may, with a very slight change of phrase be addressed as an admonition to all those, who are called upon to frame, or to interpret a constitution. Government is a practical thing made for the happiness of mankind, and not to furnish out a spectacle of uniformity to gratify the schemes of visionary politicians. The business of those, who are called to administer it, is to rule, and not to wrangle. It would be a poor compensation, that one had triumphed in a dispute, whilst we had lost an empire;80 that we had frittered down a power, and at the same time had destroyed the republic.

I will continue to add the commentaries as I can get to them and as they become relevant to current conditions in the United States. The Preamble is the next in this series.

Please also see my series on the Rights of American Citizens starting with RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS: General Rights; Division One
My series on the non-revisionist history of the world beginning with Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

The Constitution in Plain English


Footnotes:

1.    “The government of the Union,” says Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the court in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, “is emphatically and truly a government of the people. It emanates from them; its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them and for their benefit.” Id. 404, 405; see also Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 264, 413, 414. “The government of the United States was erected,” says Mr. Chancellor Kent, with equal force and accuracy, “by the free voice and the joint will of the people of America for their common defence and general welfare.” 1 Kent’s Comm. Lect. 10, p. 189.
2.    I have used the expressive words of Mr. Webster, deeming them as exact as any that could be used. See Webster’s Speeches, p, 410, 418, 419; 4 Elliot’s Debates, 338, 343.
3.    1 Black. Comm. 59, 60. See also Ayliffe’s Pandects, B. 1, tit 4, p. 25, &c.; 1 Domat. Prelim. Book, p. 9; Id. Treatise on Laws, ch. 12, p. 74.
4.    Id. See also Woodes. Elem. of Jurisp. p. 36. — Rules of a similar nature will be found laid down in Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, from §262 to 310, with more ample illustrations and more various qualifications. But not a few of his rules appear to me to want accuracy and soundness. Bacon’s Abridg. title, Statute I. contains an excellent summary of the rules for construing statutes. Domat, also, contains many valuable rule in respect to interpretation. See his Treatise on Laws, c. 12, p. 74 &c. and Preliminary Discourse, tit. 1, §2, p. 6 to 16.
5.    Book 2, ch. 7, §3.
6.    The foregoing remarks are borrowed almost in terms from Rutherforth’s Institutes of Natural Law (B. 2, ch. 7, §4 to 11), which contain a very lucid exposition of the general rules of interpretation. The whole chapter deserves an attentive perusal.
7.    The value of contemporary interpretation is much insisted on by the Supreme Court, in Stuart v. Laird, 2 Cranch, 299, 309, in Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. R. 304, and in Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 264, 418 to 421. There are several instances, however, in which the contemporary interpretations by some of the most distinguished founders of the constitution have been overruled. One of the most striking is to be found in the decision of the Supreme Court of the suability of a state by any citizen of another state;* and another in the decision by the Executive and the Senate, that the consent of the latter is not necessary to removals from office, although it is for appointments.ϯ
*   Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 419.
ϯ   The Federalist, No. 77.
8.    Mr. Jefferson has laid down two rules, which he deems perfect canons for the interpretation of the constitution.* The first is “The capital and lending object of the constitution was, to leave with the states all authorities, which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the United States those, which respected citizens of foreign or other states; to make us several as to ourselves, but one as to all others. In the latter case, then, constructions should lean to the general jurisdiction, if the words will bear it; and in favor of the states in the former, if possible, to be so construed.” Now, the very theory, on which this canon is founded, is contradicted by the provisions of the constitution itself. I many instances authorities and powers are given, which respect citizens of the respective states, without reference to foreigners, or the citizens of other states.ϯ But if this general theory were true, it would furnish no just rule of interpretation, since a particular clause might form an exception to it; and, indeed, every clause ought, at all events, to be construed according to its fair intent and objects, as disclosed in its language. What sort of a rule is that, which, without regard to the intent or objects of a particular clause, insists, that it shall, if possible, (not if reasonable) be construed in favor of the states, simply because it respects their citizens? The second canon is, “On every question of construction [we should] carry ourselves back to the time, when the constitution was adopted; recollect the spirit manifested in the debates; and instead of trying, what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one, in which it was passed.” Now, who does not see the utter looseness, and incoherence of this canon. How are we to know, what was thought of particular clauses of the constitution at the time of its adoption? In many cases, no printed debates give any account of any construction; and where any is given, different persons held different doctrines. Whose is to prevail? Besides; of all the state conventions, the debates of five only are preserved, and these very imperfectly. What is to be done, as to the other eight states? What is to be done, as to the eleven new states, which have come into the Union under constructions, which have been established, against what some persons may deem the meaning of the framers of it? How are we to arrive at what is the most probable meaning? Are Mr. Hamilton, and Mr. Madison, and Mr. Jay, the expounders in the Federalist, to be followed. Or are others of a different opinion to guide us? Are we to be governed by the opinions of a few, now dead, who have left them on record? Or by those of a few now living, simply because they were actors in those days, (constituting not one in a thousand of those, who were called to deliberate upon the constitution, and not one in ten thousand of those, who were in favor or against it, among the people)? Or are we to be governed by the opinions of those, who constituted a majority of those, who were called to act on that occasion, either as framers of, or voters upon, the constitution? If by the latter, in what manner can we know those opinions? Are we to be governed by the sense of a majority of a particular state, or of all of the United States? If so, how are we to ascertain, what that sense was? Is the sense of the constitution to be ascertained, not by its own text, but by the “probable meaning” to be gathered by conjectures from scattered documents, from private papers, from the table talk of some statesmen, or the jealous exaggerations of others? Is the constitution of the United States to be the only instrument, which is not to be interpreted by what is written, but by probable guesses, aside from the text? What would be said of interpreting a statute of a state legislature, by endeavoring to find out, from private sources, the objects and opinions of every member; how every one thought; what he wished; how he interpreted it? Suppose different persons had different opinions, what is to be done? Suppose different persons are not agreed, as to “the probable meaning” of the framers or of the people, what interpretation is to be followed? These, and many questions of the same sort, might be asked. It is obvious, that there can be no security to the people in any constitution of government, if they are not to judge of it by the fair meaning of the words of the text; but the words are to be bent and broken by the “probable meaning” of persons, whom they never knew, and whose opinions, and means of information, may be no better than their own? The people adopted the constitution according to the words of the text in their reasonable interpretation, and not according to the private interpretation of any particular men. The opinions of the latter may sometimes aid us in arriving at just results; but they can never be conclusive. The Federalist denied, that the president could remove a public officer without the consent of the senate. The first congress affirmed his right by a mere majority. Which is to be followed?
*    Jefferson’s Corresp. 373; Id. 391, 392; Id. 396.
ϯ    Jefferson’s Corresp. 391, 392, 396.

9.    1 Tucker’s Black. Comm. App. 151.
10.    B. 2, § 305.
11.    § 508.
12.    Rawle on the Constitution, ch. 1, p. 31.
13.    Martin v. Hunter, 1 Wheat. R. 304, 325.
14.    The Federalist, No. 37.
15.    Wheat. R. 304; S. C. 3 Peters’s Cond. R. 575.
16.    This is still more forcibly stated by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall in delivering the opinion of the court in McCulloch v. Maryland, in a passage already cited. 4 Wheat. R. 316, 402 to 405.
17.    See also McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 402 to 406.
18.    See also Id. 222, and Mr. Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion in Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 332.
It has been remarked by President John Q. Adams, that “it is a circumstance, which will not escape the observation of a philosophical historian, that the constructive powers of the national government have been stretched to their extremest tension by that party when in power, which has been most tenderly scrupulous of the state sovereignty, when uninvested with the authority of the union themselves.” He adds, “Of these inconsistencies, our two great parties can have little to say in reproof of each other.” Without inquiring into the justice of the remark in general, it may be truly stated. that the Embargo of 1807, and the admission of Louisiana into the Union, are very striking illustrations of the application of constructive powers.
19.    See Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 332, Opinion of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall.
20.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 189.
21.    Hunter v. Martin, 1 Wheat. R. 304, 326, 327; S. C. 3 Peters’s Cond. R. 575, 583.
22.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,187, &c. 222, &c.
23.    See Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 112, 202.
24.    Mr. Justice Johnson, in delivering the opinion of the court in Anderson v. Dunn, (6 Wheat. 204, 226) uses the following expressive language: “The idea is Utopian, that government can exist without leaving the exercise of discretion some where. Public security against the abuse of such discretion must rest on responsibility, and stated appeals to public approbation. Where all power is derived from the people, and public functionaries at short intervals deposit it at the feet of the people, to be resumed again only at their own wills, individual fears may be alarmed by the monsters of imagination, but individual liberty can be in little danger.”
25.    See United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. Peters’s Cond. R. 421.
26.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat R 122, 202.
27.    See Bacon’s Abridg. Statute I; Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, § 277 to 285, 299 to 302.
28.    See Bas v. Tingey 4 Dall. R. 37; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 221.
29.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,188, 189.
30.    2 Dall. R. 419; S. C. 2 Cond. R. 635, 652.
31.    Bacon’s Abridg. Statute 1. 8.
32.    The Federalist, No. 44.
33.    The reasoning of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall on this subject, in McCulloch v. Maryland, (4 Wheat. 316) is so cogent and satisfactory, that we shall venture to cite it at large. After having remarked, that words have various senses, and that what is the true construction of any used in the constitution must depend upon the subject, the context, and the intentions of the people, to he gathered from the instrument, he proceeds thus:

The subject is the execution of those great powers, on which the welfare of a nation essentially depends. It must have been the intention of those, who gave these powers, to insure, as far as human prudence could insure, their beneficial execution. This could not be done by confiding the choice of means to such narrow limits, as not to leave it in the power of congress to adopt any, which might be appropriate, and which were conducive to the end. This provision is made in a constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs. To have prescribed the means, by which government should, in all future time, execute its powers, would have been to change entirely the character of the instrument, and give it the properties of a legal code. It would have been an unwise attempt to provide, by immutable rules, for exigencies, which, if foreseen at all, must have been seen dimly, and which can be best provided for, as they occur. To have declared, that the best means shall not be used, but would deny a choice of means to execute the power, would reduce the power itself to a nullity. For, as it never could be demonstrated, that any one mode in particular was intended, and to be exclusively employed; and, as it might be demonstrated, that other means might be employed, the question, whether the power were rightfully put into exercise, would for ever be subject to doubt and controversy. 1 If one means is adopted to give it effect, and is within its scope, because it is appropriate, how are we to escape from the argument, that another, falling within the same predicament, is equally within its scope? If each is equally appropriate, how is the choice to be made between them? If one is selected, how does that exclude all others? If one is more appropriate at one time, and another at another time, where is the restriction to be found, which allows the one, and denies the other? A power granted in a frame of government is not contemplated to be exhausted in a single exertion of it, or uno flatu. It is intended for free and permanent exercise; and if the discretion of the functionaries, who are to exercise it, is not limited, that discretion, especially, as those functionaries must necessarily change, must be coextensive with the power itself. Take, for instance, the power to make war. In one age, this would authorize the purchase and employment of the weapons then ordinarily used for this purpose. But suppose these weapons are wholly laid aside, and others substituted, more efficient and powerful; is the government prohibited from employing the new modes of offence and defence? Surely not. The invention of gunpowder superseded the old modes of warfare, and may perhaps, by future inventions, be superseded in its turn. No one can seriously doubt, that the new modes would be within the scope of the power to make war, if they were appropriate to the end. It would, indeed, be a most extraordinary mode of interpretation of the constitution, to give such a restrictive meaning to its powers, as should obstruct their fair operation. A power being given, it is the interest of the nation to facilitate its execution. It can never be their interest, and cannot be presumed to be their intention, to clog and embarrass its execution, by withholding the most appropriate means. There can be no reasonable ground for preferring that construction, which would render the operations of the government difficult, hazardous, and expensive; or for imputing to the framers of the constitution a design to impede the exercise of its powers, by withholding a choice of means.*So, with respect to the whole penal code of the United States: whence arises the power to punish, in cases not prescribed by the constitution? All admit, that the government may legitimately, punish any violation of its laws; and yet, this is not among the enumerated powers of congress. The right to enforce the observance of law, by punishing its infraction, might be denied with the more plausibility, because it is expressly given in some cases. Congress is empowered ‘to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States,’ and ‘to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.’ The several powers of congress may exist, in a very imperfect state to be sure, but they may exist, and be carried into execution, although no punishment should be inflicted in cases, where the right to punish is not expressly given.Take, for example, the power ‘to establish post offices and post roads.’ This power is executed by the single act of making the establishment. But, from this has been inferred the power, and duty of carrying the mail along the post road, from one post office to another. And, from this implied power has again been inferred the right to punish those, who steal letters from the post office, or rob the mail. It may be said, with some plausibility, that the right to carry the mail, and to punish those, who rob it, is not indispensably necessary to the establishment of a post office, and post road. This right is indeed essential to the beneficial exercise of the power, but not indispensably necessary to its existence. So, of the punishment of the crimes of stealing or falsifying a record, or process of a court of the United States, or of perjury in such court. To punish these offences is certainly conducive to the due administration of justice. But courts may exist, and may decide the causes brought before them, though such crimes escape punishment.The baneful influence of this narrow construction, on all the operations of the government, and the absolute impracticability of maintaining it without rendering the government incompetent to its great objects, might be illustrated by numerous examples drawn from the constitution, and from our laws. The good sense of the public has pronounced without hesitation, that the power of punishment appertains to sovereignty, and may be exercised, whenever the sovereign has a right to act, as incidental to his constitutional powers. It is a means for carrying into execution all sovereign powers, and may be used, although not indispensably necessary. It is a right incidental to the power, and conducive to its beneficial exercise.ϯ

*   McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 408.
ϯ     See United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421, 429.
34.    See the remarks of Mr. Justice Johnson, in delivering the opinion of the court in Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. R. 204, 226; United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch. 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421, 429.
35.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R, 316, 409, 410, 421, 423; United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358; S. C. 1 Peters’s Cond. R. 421.
36.    The Federalist, No. 33, 44; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 423.
37.    In the discussions, as to the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, in the cabinet of President Washington, upon the original establishment of the Bank, there was a large range of argument, pro el contra, in respect to implied powers. The reader will find a summary of the lending views on each side in the fifth volume of Marshall’s Life of Washington, App. p. 3, note 3, &c.; 4 Jefferson’s Corresp. 523 to 526; and in Hamilton’s Argument on Constitutionality of Bank, 1 Hamilton’s Works, 111 to 155.
38.    Anderson v. Dunn, 6 Wheat. 204, 226.
39.    Article 2.
40.    Per Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat R. 316, 406, 407, 421.
41.    The Federalist, No. 33.
42.    The Federalist, No. 44.
43.    The Federalist, No. 44.
44.    The Federalist, No. 32.
45.    See Huston v. More, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 22, 24, 48; Ogden v. Gibbons, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 198, 210, 228, 235; Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 192, 193; Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. 1, 275, 307, 322, 334, 335.
46.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 192, 193; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 198, &c.
47.    The Federalist, No. 32; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,198, 199 to 205; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat, R. 316, 425.
48.    Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 205. — Mr. Chancellor Kent has given this whole subject of exclusive and concurrent power a thorough examination; and the result will be found most ably stated in his learned Commentaries, Lecture 18. 1 Kent Comm. 364 to 379, 2d edit. p. 387 to 405.
49.    Ware v. Hylton, 3 Dall. 199, S. C. 1, Conden. R. 99, 112,127, 128, 129; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 210, 211; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 405, 406, 425 to 436 Houston v. Moore. 5 Wheat. R. 1, 22, 24, 49, 51, 53, 56; Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 2 Wheat. R. 1, 190,196; Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 321; The Federalist, No. 32; Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat. R. 419, 419.
50.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 426.
51.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 1, 193.
52.    Mr. Justice Washington, Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 21, 22.
53.    5 Wheat R. p. 22.
54.    Id. 24. See also Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 324, &c.;
55.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. R. 122, 195, 196. See also Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 197, 227, 235, 238; Houston v. Moore, 5 wheat. R. 34, 49, 52, 54, 55. — This opinion, that the power to pass bankrupt laws is not exclusive, has not been unanimously adopted by the Supreme Court. Mr. Justice Washington maintained at all times an opposite opinion; and his opinion is known to have been adopted by at least one other of the judges of the Supreme Court. The reasons, on which Mr. J. Washington’s opinion is founded, will be found at large in the case of Golden v. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. R. 313, 322, &c. See also Ogden v. Saunders, 12 Wheat. R. 213, 264, 265, and Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 209, 226, 238.
56.    Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 49, 55, 56.
57.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,197, 210; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 527.
58.    McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. R. 316, 431.
59.    Ibid.
60.    Id. 432.
61.    Houston v. Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 1, 53.
62.    Houston v Moore, 5 Wheat. R. 50, 51, 52.
63.    Id. 54, 55.
64.    Sturgis v. Crowninshield, 4 Wheat. 122, 195, 197, 199; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1,196,197, 209.
65.    See Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. R. 1, 203 to 210.
66.    See The Federalist, No. 83, 84.
67.    Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. R. 395 to 401.
68.    The Federalist, No. 83.
69.    The Federalist, No. 83. See Vattel, B. 2, ch, 17, §282.
70.    The Federalist, No. 83.
71.    Mr. Madison’s Letter to Mr. Cabell, 18th September, 1828.
72.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §262, §299.
73.    The Federalist, No. 37.
74.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §276, 277.
75.    Ex parte Bollman & Swartout, 4 Cranch, 75; S. C. 2 Peters’s Cond. R. 33.
76.    Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §281.
77.    5 Peters’s Rep. 1, 19.
78.    Mr. Madison’s Virginia Report, 7 January, 1800, p. 5; ante, §208, p. 193.
79.    See Vattel, B. 2, ch. 17, §285, 286.
80.    Burke’s Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol in 1777.

U.S. Senate and House of Representative Phone Numbers and Contact Info by State

NOTE: I HAVE NOT UPDATED THE NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE 114th CONGRESS. IF YOU CHANGED CONGRESSMAN. TRY THE PHONE NUMBER OF THE REPRESENTATIVE YOU REPLACED THEM WITH! I WILL UPDATE ALL CONTACT INFORMATION AS SOON AS IT IS ALL AVAILABLE.

United States Senate and House of Representative Phone Numbers by State with a synopsis of Congressional Powers

 

Since the Congress and President seem to be having a hard time hearing the American citizens on various issues, I am providing phone numbers, twitter, facebook and email accounts for you to be able to contact each of your representatives with your concerns. Thereby also making it easier for your representatives to listen to you. Feel free to contact them early and often. Since members of Congress have been misleading people about their Constitutional powers, I am also including a synopsis of their powers.

Congressional Powers Under The Constitution: Distinct powers of the two houses. The House of Representatives @HouseFloor has the sole right of impeachment, that is, the right or power to accuse officers of the government for maladministration,malfeasance, or for crimes, offenses, or neglect of duty in their offices.

The @Senate has the sole right and power to try offenders impeached.

Each House is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members; each determines the rules of its proceedings, and punishes or expels its own members for disorderly conduct.

Senators and representatives receive a compensation for their services which is ascertained by law. They are privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, during their attendance in the session, and in going to and returning from the same.

Officers of government cannot hold a seat in either house. Learn more about the Constitution here.

Senate_Seal US SENATE LOGOSenate Phone Numbers by State:

Alaska
Begich, Mark – (D – AK) (202) 224-3004 Fax: 202-224-2354
Murkowski, Lisa – (R – AK) (202) 224-6665 Fax: 202-224-5301

Alabama
Jeff Sessions –  @SenatorSessions (R – AL) (202) 224-4124 Fax: 202-224-3149 Web Site Montgomery: (334) 244-7017
Richard C. Shelby – @SenShelbyPress – (R – AL) (202) 224-5744 Fax: 202-224-3416 Web Site Tuscaloosa: (205) 759-5047

Arkansas
John Boozman –  @JohnBoozman (R – AR) (202) 224-4843 Fax: 202-228-1371 Web Site Lowell: (479) 725-0400
Mark L. Pryor@SenMarkPryor (D – AR) (202) 224-2353 Fax: 202-228-0908 Web Site Little Rock: (501) 324-6336

Arizona
Jeff Flake@JeffFlake (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521 Fax: 202-228-0515 Web Site Mesa: (480) 833-0092
John McCain – @SenJohnMcCain (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235 Fax: 202-228-2862 Web Site Phoenix: (602) 952-2410

California
Barbara Boxer – @BarbaraBoxer (D – CA) (202) 224-3553 Fax: 202) 224-0454 Web Site San Francisco: (415) 403-0100
Dianne Feinstein@SenFeinstein (D – CA) (202) 224-3841 Fax: 202-228-3954 Web Site San Francisco: (415) 393-0707

Colorado
Michael F. Bennet – @SenBennetCO (D – CO) (202) 224-5852 Fax: 202-224-1933 Web Site Denver: (303) 455-7600
Mark Udall @MarkUdall (D – CO) (202) 224-5941 Fax: 202-224-6471 Web Site Denver: (303) 650-7820

Connecticut
Richard Blumenthal@SenBlumenthal (D – CT) (202) 224-2823 Fax: 202-224-6593 Web Site Hartford: (860) 258-6940
Christopher Murphy@ChrisMurphyCT (D – CT) (202) 224-4041 Fax: 202-224-9750 Web Site Boston: (617) 565-8519

Delaware
Thomas R. Carper  – @SenatorCarper (D – DE) (202) 224-2441 Fax: 202-228-2190 Web Site Dover: (302) 674-3308
Christopher A. Coons –  @ChrisCoons (D – DE) (202) 224-5042 Fax: 202-228-3075 Web Site Wilmington: (302) 573-6345

Florida
Bill Nelson@SenBillNelson (D – FL) (202) 224-5274 Fax: 202-228-2183 Web Site Orlando: (888) 671-4091
Marco Rubio – @marcorubio (R – FL) (202) 224-3041 Fax: 202-228-0285 Web Site Orlando: (407) 254-2573

Georgia
Saxby Chambliss@SaxbyChambliss (R – GA) (202) 224-3521 Fax 202-224-0103 Web Site Atlanta: (770) 763-9090
Johnny Isakson@SenatorIsakson (R – GA) (202) 224-3643 Fax: 202-228-2090 Web Site Atlanta: (770) 661-0999

Hawaii
Mazie K. Hirono@maziehirono (D – HI) (202) 224-6361 Fax: 202-224-2126 Web Site Honolulu: (808) 541-1986
Brian Schatz – @SenBrianSchatz (D – HI) (202) 224-3934 Fax: 202-228-1153  Honolulu: (808) 541-2542

Iowa
Chuck Grassley  – @ChuckGrassley (R – IA) (202) 224-3744 Fax: 202-224-6020 Web Site Des Moines: (515) 288-1145
Tom Harkin@SenatorHarkin (D – IA) (202) 224-3254 Fax: 202-224-9369 Web Site Des Moines: (515) 284-4574

Idaho
Mike Crapo  – @MikeCrapo (R – ID) (202) 224-6142 Fax: 202-228-1375 Web Site Boise: (208) 334-1776
James E. Risch  – @SenatorRisch (R – ID) (202) 224-2752 Fax: 202-228-1067 Web Site Boise: (208) 342-7985

Illinois
Richard (Dick) J. Durbin@SenatorDurbin (D – IL) (202) 224-2152 Fax: 202-228-0400 Web Site Chicago: (312) 353-4952
Mark Kirk @SenatorKirk (R – IL) (202) 224-2854 Fax: 202-228-4611 Web Site Chicago: (312) 886-3506

Indiana
Daniel Coats  – @SenDanCoats (R – IN) (202) 224-5623 Fax: (202) 228-1820 Web Site Indianapolis: (317) 554-0750
Joe Donnelly @SenDonnelly (D – IN) (202) 224-4814 Fax: 202-228-0360 Web Site South Bend: (574) 288-2780

Kansas
Jerry Moran  –  @JerryMoran (R – KS) (202) 224-6521 Fax: 202-228-6966 Web Site Olathe: (913) 393-0711
Pat Roberts  –  @SenPatRoberts (R – KS) (202) 224-4774 Fax: 202-224-3514 Web Site Overland Park: (913) 451-9343

Kentucky
Mitch McConnell  – @McConnellPress  (R – KY) (202) 224-2541 Fax: 202-224-2499 Web Site Louisville: (502) 582-6304
Rand Paul  – @SenRandPaul (R – KY) (202) 224-4343 Fax: 202-228-1373 Web Site Bowlling Green: (270) 782-8303

Louisiana
Mary L. Landrieu@marylandrieu (D – LA) (202) 224-5824 Fax: 202-224-9735 Web Site New Orleans: (504) 589-2427
David Vitter  – @DavidVitter (R – LA) (202) 224-4623 Fax: 202-228-2577 Web Site Lafayette: (337) 262-6898

Massachusetts
William M. Cowan – @SenMoCowan (D – MA) (202) 224-2742 Fax: 202-224-8525
Elizabeth Warren@elizabethforma (D – MA) (202) 224-4543 Fax: 202-228-2646 Web Site Boston: (617) 565-3170

Maryland
Benjamin L. Cardin@SenatorCardin (D – MD) (202) 224-4524 Fax: 202-224-1651 Web Site Baltimore: (410) 962-4436
Barbara A. Mikulski@SenatorBarb (D – MD) (202) 224-4654 Fax: 202-224-8858 Web Site Baltimore: (410) 962-4510

Maine
Susan M. Collins@SenatorCollins (R – ME) (202) 224-2523 Fax: 202-224-2693 Web Site Bangor: (207) 945-0417
Angus S. King, Jr. – @SenAngusKing (I – ME) (202) 224-5344 Fax: 202-224-1946 Web Site Auburn: (207) 786-2451

Michigan
Carl Levin – @SenCarlLevin (D – MI) (202) 224-6221 Fax: 202-224-1388 Web Site Detroit: (313) 226-6020
Debbie Stabenow@stabenow (D – MI) (202) 224-4822 Fax: 202-228-0325 Web SiteEast Lansing: (517) 203-1760

Minnesota
Al Franken@alfranken (D – MN) (202) 224-5641 Fax: 202-224-1152 Web Site St. Paul: (651) 221-1016
Amy Klobuchar – @amyklobuchar (D – MN) (202) 224-3244 Fax: 202-228-2186 Web Site Minneapolis: (612) 727-5220

Missouri
Roy Blunt  –  @RoyBlunt (R – MO) (202) 224-5721 Fax: 202-224-8149 Web Site Springfield: (417) 877-7814
Claire McCaskill@clairecmc (D – MO) (202) 224-6154 Fax: 202-228-6326 Web Site Kansas City: (816) 421-1639

Mississippi
Thad Cochran  –  @SenThadCochran (R – MS) (202) 224-5054 Fax: 202-224-9450 Web Site Jackson: (601) 965-4649
Roger F. Wicker@SenatorWicker (R – MS) (202) 224-6253 Fax: 202-228-0378 Web Site Jackson: (601) 965-4644

Montana
Max Baucus@MaxBaucus (D – MT) (202) 224-2651 Fax: 202-224-9412 Web Site Billings: (406) 657-6790
Jon Tester@jontester (D – MT) (202) 224-2644 Fax: 202-224-8594 Web Site Helena: (406) 449-5401

North Carolina
Richard Burr  –  @SenatorBurr (R – NC) (202) 224-3154 Fax 202-228-2981 Web Site Winston-Salem: (800) 685-8916
Kay R. Hagan @SenatorHagan (D – NC)(202) 224-6342 Fax: 202-228-2563 Web Site Greensboro: (336) 333-5311

North Dakota
Heidi Heitkamp@SenatorHeitkamp (D – ND) (202) 224-2043 Fax: 202-224-7776 Web SiteBismarck: (701) 258-4648
John Hoeven@SenJohnHoeven (R – ND) (202) 224-2551 Fax: 202-224-7999 Web Site Bismarck: (701) 250-4618

Nebraska
Deb Fischer  – @SenatorFischer (R – NE) (202) 224-6551 Fax: 202-228-0012 Web Site Omaha: (402) 391-3411
Mike Johanns  – @Mike_Johanns (R – NE)(202) 224-4224 Fax: 202-224-5213 Web Site Omaha: (402) 758-8981

New Hampshire
Kelly Ayotte@KellyAyotte (R – NH) (202) 224-3324 Fax: 202-224-4952 Web Site Manchester: (603) 622-7979
Jeanne Shaheen@SenatorShaheen (D – NH) (202) 224-2841 Fax: 202-228-4131 Web Site Manchester: (603) 647-7500

New Jersey
Jeff Chiesa – Email: Senator_Chiesa@Chiesa.Senate.gov (R – NJ) (202) 224-3224 Fax: 202-224-7981 Web Site
Robert Menendez@SenatorMenendez (D – NJ) (202) 224-4744 Fax: 202-228-2197 Web Site Newark: (973) 645-3030

New Mexico
Martin Heinrich@MartinHeinrich (D – NM) (202) 224-5521 Fax: 202-224-2852 Web Site Farmington: (502) 325-5030
Tom Udall@SenatorTomUdall (D – NM) (202) 224-6621 Fax: 202-228-3261 Web Site Albuquerque: (505) 346-6791

Nevada
Dean Heller – @SenDeanHeller  (R – NV) (202) 224-6244 Fax: 202-228-6753 Web Site Las Vegas: (702) 388-6605
Harry Reid@SenatorReid (D – NV) (202) 224-3542 Fax: 202-224-7327 Web Site Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020

New York
Kirsten E. Gillibrand@SenGillibrand (D – NY) (202) 224-4451 Fax: 202-228-0282 Web Site New York: (212) 688-6262
Charles E. Schumer@ChuckSchumer (D – NY) (202) 224-6542 Fax: 202-228-3027 Web Site New York: (212) 486-4430

Ohio
Sherrod Brown@SenSherrodBrown (D – OH) (202) 224-2315 Fax: 202-224-6519 Web Site Cleveland: (216) 522-7272
Rob Portman  – @RobPortman (R – OH) (202) 224-3353 Fax: 202-228-1382 Web Site Columbus: (614) 469-6774

Oklahoma
Tom Coburn  – @TomCoburn (R – OK) (202) 224-5754 Fax: 202-224-6008 Web Site Tulsa: (918) 581-7651
James M. Inhofe –  @JimInhofe(R – OK) (202) 224-4721 Fax: 202-228-0380 Web Site Tulsa: (918) 748-5111

Oregon
Jeff Merkley@SenJeffMerkley (D – OR) (202) 224-3753 Fax: 202-228-3997 Web Site Portland: (503) 326-3386
Ron Wyden@RonWyden (D – OR) (202) 224-5244 Fax: 202-228-2717 Web Site Portland: (503) 326-7525

Pennsylvania
Robert P. Casey Jr. – @SenBobCasey (D – PA) (202) 224-6324 Fax: 202-228-0604 Web Site Harrisburg: (717) 231-7540
Patrick J. Toomey  – @SenToomey (R – PA) (202) 224-4254 Fax: 202-228-1229 Web Site Philadelphia: (215) 241-1090

Rhode Island
Jack Reed@SenJackReed (D – RI) (202) 224-4642 Fax: 202-224-4680 Web Site Cranston: (401) 943-3100
Sheldon Whitehouse@SenWhitehouse (D – RI) (202) 224-2921 Fax: 202-228-2853 Web Site Providence: (401) 453-5294

South Carolina
Lindsey Graham@LindseyGrahamSC @GrahamBlog(R – SC) (202) 224-5972 Fax: 202-224-3808 Web Site Greenville: (864) 250-1417
Tim Scott  – @SenatorTimScott (R – SC) (202) 224-6121 Fax: 202-225-3407 Web Site Charleston: (843) 852-2222

South Dakota
Tim Johnson@SenJohnsonSD (D – SD) (202) 224-5842 Fax: 202-228-5765 Web Site Sioux Falls: (605) 332-8896
John Thune  – @SenJohnThune (R – SD) (202) 224-2321 Fax: 202-228-5429 Web Site Sioux Falls: (605) 334-9596

Tennessee
Lamar Alexander@SenAlexander (R – TN) (202) 224-4944 Fax: 202-228-3398 Web Site Nashville: (615) 736-5129
Bob Corker@SenBobCorker (R – TN) (202) 224-3344 Fax: 202-228-1264 Web Site Chattanooga: (423) 756-2757

Texas
John Cornyn  – @JohnCornyn (R – TX) (202) 224-2934 Fax: 202-228-2856 Web Site Austin: (512) 469-6034
Ted Cruz – @SenTedCruz (R – TX) (202) 224-5922 Fax: 202-224-0776 Web Site Austin: (512) 916-5834

Utah
Orrin G. Hatch@OrrinHatch (R – UT) (202) 224-5251 Fax: 202-224-6331 Web Site Salt Lake City: (801) 524-4380
Mike Lee@SenMikeLee (R – UT) (202) 224-5444 Fax: 202-224-6717 Web Site Salt Lake City: (801) 524-5933

Virginia
Tim Kaine@timkaine (D – VA) (202) 224-4024 Fax: 202-228-6363 Web Site Richmond: (804) 771-2221
Mark R. Warner@MarkWarner (D – VA) (202) 224-2023 Fax: 202-224-6295 Web Site Vienna: (703) 442-0670

Vermont
Patrick J. Leahy@SenatorLeahy (D – VT) (202) 224-4242 Fax: 202-224-3479 Web Site Burlington: (800) 642-3193
Bernard Sanders  – @SenSanders (I – VT) (202) 224-5141 Fax: 202-228-0776 Web Site Burlington: (800) 339-9834

Washington
Maria Cantwell@CantwellPress (D – WA) (202) 224-3441 Fax: 202-228-0514 Web Site Seattle: (206) 220-6400
Patty Murray@PattyMurray (D – WA) (202) 224-2621 Fax: 202-224-0238 Web Site Seattle: (206) 553-5545

Wisconsin
Tammy Baldwin@SenatorBaldwin (D – WI) (202) 224-5653 Fax: 202-224-9787 Web Site Madison: (608) 264-5338
Ron Johnson  – @SenRonJohnson (R – WI) (202) 224-5323 Fax: 202-228-6965 Web Site Milwaukee: (414) 276-7282

West Virginia
Joe Manchin, III@Sen_JoeManchin (D – WV) (202) 224-3954 Fax: 202-228-0002 Web Site Charleston: (304) 342-5855
John D. Rockefeller, IV – @SenRockefeller (D – WV)(202) 224-6472 Fax: 202-224-7665 Web Site Charleston: (304) 347-5372

Wyoming
John Barrasso – @SenJohnBarrasso (R – WY) (202) 224-6441 Fax: 202-224-1724 Web Site Casper: (307) 261-6413
Michael B. Enzi@SenatorEnzi (R – WY) (202) 224-3424 Fax: 202-228-0359 Web Site Gillette: (307) 682-6268

US House of Representatives

House of Representative Phone Numbers and Committee Assignments

Sorry for the errors on the layout, pasted from word and it is what it is. The information is all there, just the alignment is messed up.

Alabama

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

                Committee Assignment

1

Bonner, Jo

R

202-225-4931

Appropriations

2

Roby, Martha

R

202-225-2901

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Rogers (AL), Mike

R

202-225-3261

Agriculture
Armed Services
Homeland Security

4

Aderholt, Robert

R

202-225-4876

Appropriations

5

Brooks, Mo

R

202-225-4801

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

6

Bachus, Spencer

R

202-225-4921

Financial Services
Judiciary

7

Sewell, Terri A.

D

202-225-2665

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Alaska

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Young, Don

R

202-225-5765

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

American Samoa

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Faleomavaega, Eni F. H.

D

202-225-8577

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

Arizona

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kirkpatrick, Ann

D

202-225-3361

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Barber, Ron

D

202-225-2542

Armed Services
Homeland Security
Small Business

3

Grijalva, Raul

D

202-225-2435

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

4

Gosar, Paul A.

R

202-225-2315

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Salmon, Matt

R

202-225-2635

Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

6

Schweikert, David

R

202-225-2190

Science, Space, and Technology
Small Business

7

Pastor, Ed

D

202-225-4065

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

8

Franks, Trent

R

202-225-4576

Armed Services
Judiciary

9

Sinema, Kyrsten

D

202-225-9888

Financial Services

Arkansas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Crawford, Rick

R

202-225-4076

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

2

Griffin, Tim

R

202-225-2506

Ways and Means

3

Womack, Steve

R

202-225-4301

Appropriations

4

Cotton, Tom

R

202-225-3772

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

California

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

LaMalfa, Doug

R

202-225-3076

Agriculture
Natural Resources

2

Huffman, Jared

D

202-225-5161

Budget
Natural Resources

3

Garamendi, John

D

202-225-1880

Agriculture
Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

McClintock, Tom

R

202-225-2511

Budget
Natural Resources

5

Thompson, Mike

D

202-225-3311

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

6

Matsui, Doris O.

D

202-225-7163

Energy and Commerce

7

Bera, Ami

D

202-225-5716

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

8

Cook, Paul

R

202-225-5861

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Veterans’ Affairs

9

McNerney, Jerry

D

202-225-1947

Energy and Commerce

10

Denham, Jeff

R

202-225-4540

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

11

Miller, George

D

202-225-2095

Education and the Workforce

12

Pelosi, Nancy

D

202-225-4965

Democratic Leader

13

Lee, Barbara

D

202-225-2661

Appropriations
Budget

14

Speier, Jackie

D

202-225-3531

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

15

Swalwell, Eric

D

202-225-5065

Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology

16

Costa, Jim

D

202-225-3341

Agriculture
Natural Resources

17

Honda, Mike

D

202-225-2631

Appropriations

18

Eshoo, Anna G.

D

202-225-8104

Energy and Commerce

19

Lofgren, Zoe

D

202-225-3072

House Administration
Judiciary
Science, Space, and Technology

20

Farr, Sam

D

202-225-2861

Appropriations

21

Valadao, David

R

202-225-4695

Appropriations

22

Nunes, Devin

R

202-225-2523

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

23

McCarthy, Kevin

R

202-225-2915

Majority Whip
Financial Services

24

Capps, Lois

D

202-225-3601

Energy and Commerce

25

McKeon, Buck

R

202-225-1956

Armed Services, Chairman
Education and the Workforce

26

Brownley, Julia

D

202-225-5811

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

27

Chu, Judy

D

202-225-5464

Judiciary
Small Business

28

Schiff, Adam

D

202-225-4176

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

29

Cárdenas, Tony

D

202-225-6131

Budget
Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

30

Sherman, Brad

D

202-225-5911

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

31

Miller, Gary

R

202-225-3201

Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

32

Napolitano, Grace

D

202-225-5256

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

33

Waxman, Henry

D

202-225-3976

Energy and Commerce

34

Becerra, Xavier

D

202-225-6235

Ways and Means

35

Negrete McLeod, Gloria

D

202-225-6161

Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs

36

Ruiz, Raul

D

202-225-5330

Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

37

Bass, Karen

D

202-225-7084

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

38

Sanchez, Linda

D

202-225-6676

Ethics
Ways and Means

39

Royce, Ed

R

202-225-4111

Foreign Affairs, Chairman
Financial Services

40

Roybal-Allard, Lucille

D

202-225-1766

Appropriations

41

Takano, Mark

D

202-225-2305

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

42

Calvert, Ken

R

202-225-1986

Appropriations
Budget

43

Waters, Maxine

D

202-225-2201

Financial Services

44

Hahn, Janice

D

202-225-8220

Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

45

Campbell, John

R

202-225-5611

Budget
Financial Services

46

Sanchez, Loretta

D

202-225-2965

Armed Services
Homeland Security

47

Lowenthal, Alan

D

202-225-7924

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

48

Rohrabacher, Dana

R

202-225-2415

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

49

Issa, Darrell

R

202-225-3906

Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman
Judiciary

50

Hunter, Duncan D.

R

202-225-5672

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

51

Vargas, Juan

D

202-225-8045

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
House Administration

52

Peters, Scott

D

202-225-0508

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

53

Davis, Susan

D

202-225-2040

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

Colorado

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

DeGette, Diana

D

202-225-4431

Energy and Commerce

2

Polis, Jared

D

202-225-2161

Education and the Workforce
Rules

3

Tipton, Scott

R

202-225-4761

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Small Business

4

Gardner, Cory

R

202-225-4676

Energy and Commerce

5

Lamborn, Doug

R

202-225-4422

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

6

Coffman, Mike

R

202-225-7882

Armed Services
Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

7

Perlmutter, Ed

D

202-225-2645

Financial Services

Connecticut

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Larson, John B.

D

202-225-2265

Ways and Means

2

Courtney, Joe

D

202-225-2076

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

DeLauro, Rosa L.

D

202-225-3661

Appropriations

4

Himes, Jim

D

202-225-5541

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Esty, Elizabeth

D

202-225-4476

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

Delaware

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Carney, John

D

202-225-4165

Financial Services

District of Columbia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Norton, Eleanor Holmes

D

202-225-8050

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

Florida

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

                          Committee Assignment

1

Miller, Jeff

R

202-225-4136

Veterans’ Affairs, Chairman
Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

2

Southerland, Steve

R

202-225-5235

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Yoho, Ted

R

202-225-5744

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs

4

Crenshaw, Ander

R

202-225-2501

Appropriations

5

Brown, Corrine

D

202-225-0123

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

6

DeSantis, Ron

R

202-225-2706

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Mica, John

R

202-225-4035

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

 

8

 

Posey, Bill

 

R

 

202-225-3671

 

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

9

Grayson, Alan

D

202-225-9889

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

10

Webster, Daniel

R

202-225-2176

Rules
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Nugent, Richard

R

202-225-1002

Armed Services
House Administration
Rules

12

Bilirakis, Gus M.

R

202-225-5755

Energy and Commerce
Veterans’ Affairs

13

Young, C.W. Bill

R

202-225-5961

Appropriations

14

Castor, Kathy

D

202-225-3376

Budget
Energy and Commerce

15

Ross, Dennis

R

202-225-1252

Financial Services

16

Buchanan, Vern

R

202-225-5015

Ways and Means

17

Rooney, Tom

R

202-225-5792

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

18

Murphy, Patrick

D

202-225-3026

Financial Services
Small Business

19

Radel, Trey

R

202-225-2536

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

20

Hastings, Alcee L.

D

202-225-1313


Rules

21

Deutch, Ted

D

202-225-3001

Ethics
Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

22

Frankel, Lois

D

202-225-9890

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

23

Wasserman Schultz, Debbie

D

202-225-7931

Appropriations

24

Wilson, Frederica

D

202-225-4506

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology

25

Diaz-Balart, Mario

R

202-225-4211

Appropriations

26

Garcia, Joe

D

202-225-2778

Judiciary
Natural Resources

27

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana

R

202-225-3931

Foreign Affairs
Rules

Georgia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kingston, Jack

R

202-225-5831

Appropriations

2

Bishop Jr., Sanford D.

D

202-225-3631

Appropriations

3

Westmoreland, Lynn A.

R

202-225-5901

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

4

Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” Jr.

D

202-225-1605

Armed Services
Judiciary

5

Lewis, John

D

202-225-3801

Ways and Means

6

Price, Tom

R

202-225-4501

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Ways and Means

7

Woodall, Robert

R

202-225-4272

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform
Rules

8

Scott, Austin

R

202-225-6531

Agriculture
Armed Services

9

Collins, Doug

R

202-225-9893

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

10

Broun, Paul C.

R

202-225-4101

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

11

Gingrey, Phil

R

202-225-2931

Energy and Commerce
House Administration

12

Barrow, John

D

202-225-2823

Energy and Commerce

13

Scott, David

D

202-225-2939

Agriculture
Financial Services

14

Graves, Tom

R

202-225-5211

Appropriations

Guam

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Bordallo, Madeleine

D

202-225-1188

Armed Services
Natural Resources

Hawaii

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Hanabusa, Colleen

D

202-225-2726

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Gabbard, Tulsi

D

202-225-4906

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Idaho

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Labrador, Raul R.

R

202-225-6611

Judiciary
Natural Resources

2

Simpson, Mike

R

202-225-5531

Appropriations

Illinois

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Rush, Bobby L.

D

202-225-4372

Energy and Commerce

2

Kelly, Robin

D

202-225-0773

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology

3

Lipinski, Daniel

D

202-225-5701

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

Gutierrez, Luis

D

202-225-8203

Judiciary
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Quigley, Mike

D

202-225-4061

Appropriations

6

Roskam, Peter J.

R

202-225-4561

Ways and Means

7

Davis, Danny K.

D

202-225-5006

Oversight and Government Reform
Ways and Means

8

Duckworth, Tammy

D

202-225-3711

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Schakowsky, Jan

D

202-225-2111

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

10

Schneider, Brad

D

202-225-4835

Foreign Affairs
Small Business

11

Foster, Bill

D

202-225-3515

Financial Services

12

Enyart, William

D

202-225-5661

Agriculture
Armed Services

13

Davis, Rodney

R

202-225-2371

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

14

Hultgren, Randy

R

202-225-2976

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

15

Shimkus, John

R

202-225-5271

Energy and Commerce

16

Kinzinger, Adam

R

202-225-3635

Energy and Commerce
Foreign Affairs

17

Bustos, Cheri

D

202-225-5905

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

18

Schock, Aaron

R

202-225-6201

House Administration
Ways and Means

Indiana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Visclosky, Peter

D

202-225-2461

Appropriations

2

Walorski, Jackie

R

202-225-3915

Armed Services
Budget
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Stutzman, Marlin

R

202-225-4436

Financial Services

4

Rokita, Todd

R

202-225-5037

Budget
Education and the Workforce
House Administration

5

Brooks, Susan W.

R

202-225-2276

Education and the Workforce
Ethics
Homeland Security

6

Messer, Luke

R

202-225-3021

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

7

Carson, André

D

202-225-4011

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Bucshon, Larry

R

202-225-4636

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

9

Young, Todd

R

202-225-5315

Ways and Means

Iowa

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Braley, Bruce L.

D

202-225-2911

Energy and Commerce

2

Loebsack, David

D

202-225-6576

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Latham, Tom

R

202-225-5476

Appropriations

4

King, Steve

R

202-225-4426

Agriculture
Judiciary
Small Business

Kansas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Huelskamp, Tim

R

202-225-2715

Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Jenkins, Lynn

R

202-225-6601

Ways and Means

3

Yoder, Kevin

R

202-225-2865

Appropriations

4

Pompeo, Mike

R

202-225-6216

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Kentucky

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Whitfield, Ed

R

202-225-3115

Energy and Commerce

2

Guthrie, S. Brett

R

202-225-3501

Education and the Workforce
Energy and Commerce

3

Yarmuth, John A.

D

202-225-5401

Budget
Education and the Workforce

4

Massie, Thomas

R

202-225-3465

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Rogers, Harold

R

202-225-4601

Appropriations, Chairman

6

Barr, Andy

R

202-225-4706

Financial Services

Louisiana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Scalise, Steve

R

202-225-3015

Energy and Commerce

2

Richmond, Cedric

D

202-225-6636

Homeland Security
Judiciary

3

Boustany Jr., Charles W.

R

202-225-2031

Ways and Means

4

Fleming, John

R

202-225-2777

Armed Services
Natural Resources

5

Alexander, Rodney

R

202-225-8490

Appropriations

6

Cassidy, William

R

202-225-3901

Energy and Commerce

Maine

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Pingree, Chellie

D

202-225-6116

Appropriations

2

Michaud, Michael

D

202-225-6306

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

Maryland

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Harris, Andy

R

202-225-5311

Appropriations

2

Ruppersberger, Dutch

D

202-225-3061

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Sarbanes, John P.

D

202-225-4016

Energy and Commerce

4

Edwards, Donna F.

D

202-225-8699

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Hoyer, Steny H.

D

202-225-4131

Democratic Whip

6

Delaney, John

D

202-225-2721

Financial Services

7

Cummings, Elijah

D

202-225-4741

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Van Hollen, Chris

D

202-225-5341

Budget

Massachusetts

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Neal, Richard E.

D

202-225-5601

Ways and Means

2

McGovern, James

D

202-225-6101

Agriculture
Rules

3

Tsongas, Niki

D

202-225-3411

Armed Services
Natural Resources

4

Kennedy III, Joseph P.

D

202-225-5931

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

5

Markey, Ed

D

202-225-2836

Energy and Commerce
Natural Resources

6

Tierney, John

D

202-225-8020

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Capuano, Michael E.

D

202-225-5111

Ethics
Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Lynch, Stephen F.

D

202-225-8273

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Keating, William

D

202-225-3111

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Michigan

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Benishek, Dan

R

202-225-4735

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Huizenga, Bill

R

202-225-4401

Financial Services

3

Amash, Justin

R

202-225-3831

Oversight and Government Reform

4

Camp, Dave

R

202-225-3561

Ways and Means, Chairman

5

Kildee, Daniel

D

202-225-3611

Financial Services

6

Upton, Fred

R

202-225-3761

Energy and Commerce, Chairman

7

Walberg, Tim

R

202-225-6276

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

8

Rogers (MI), Mike

R

202-225-4872

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman
Energy and Commerce

9

Levin, Sander

D

202-225-4961

Ways and Means

10

Miller, Candice

R

202-225-2106

House Administration, Chairman
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Bentivolio, Kerry

R

202-225-8171

Oversight and Government Reform
Small Business

12

Dingell, John

D

202-225-4071

Energy and Commerce

13

Conyers Jr., John

D

202-225-5126

Judiciary

14

Peters, Gary

D

202-225-5802

Financial Services

Minnesota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Walz, Timothy J.

D

202-225-2472

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Kline, John

R

202-225-2271

Education and the Workforce, Chairman
Armed Services

3

Paulsen, Erik

R

202-225-2871

Ways and Means

4

McCollum, Betty

D

202-225-6631

Appropriations

5

Ellison, Keith

D

202-225-4755

Financial Services

6

Bachmann, Michele

R

202-225-2331

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

7

Peterson, Collin C.

D

202-225-2165

Agriculture

8

Nolan, Rick

D

202-225-6211

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

Mississippi

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Nunnelee, Alan

R

202-225-4306

Appropriations
Budget

2

Thompson, Bennie G.

D

202-225-5876

Homeland Security

3

Harper, Gregg

R

202-225-5031

Energy and Commerce
House Administration

4

Palazzo, Steven

R

202-225-5772

Armed Services
Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology

Missouri

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Clay Jr., William “Lacy”

D

202-225-2406

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

2

Wagner, Ann

R

202-225-1621

Financial Services

3

Luetkemeyer, Blaine

R

202-225-2956

Financial Services
Small Business

4

Hartzler, Vicky

R

202-225-2876

Agriculture
Armed Services
Budget

5

Cleaver, Emanuel

D

202-225-4535

Financial Services

6

Graves, Sam

R

202-225-7041

Small Business, Chairman
Transportation and Infrastructure

7

Long, Billy

R

202-225-6536

Energy and Commerce

8

Smith, Jason

R

202-225-4404

Montana

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Daines, Steve

R

202-225-3211

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

Nebraska

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Fortenberry, Jeff

R

202-225-4806

Appropriations

2

Terry, Lee

R

202-225-4155

Energy and Commerce

3

Smith, Adrian

R

202-225-6435

Ways and Means

Nevada

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Titus, Dina

D

202-225-5965

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Amodei, Mark

R

202-225-6155

Judiciary
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Heck, Joe

R

202-225-3252

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

4

Horsford, Steven

D

202-225-9894

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

New Hampshire

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Shea-Porter, Carol

D

202-225-5456

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Kuster, Ann

D

202-225-5206

Agriculture
Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

New Jersey

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Andrews, Robert E.

D

202-225-6501

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

2

LoBiondo, Frank

R

202-225-6572

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Runyan, Jon

R

202-225-4765

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

4

Smith, Chris

R

202-225-3765

, Co-Chair
Foreign Affairs

5

Garrett, Scott

R

202-225-4465

Budget
Financial Services

6

Pallone Jr., Frank

D

202-225-4671

Energy and Commerce
Natural Resources

7

Lance, Leonard

R

202-225-5361

Energy and Commerce

8

Sires, Albio

D

202-225-7919

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

9

Pascrell Jr., Bill

D

202-225-5751

Budget
Ways and Means

10

Payne Jr., Donald

D

202-225-3436

Homeland Security
Small Business

11

Frelinghuysen, Rodney

R

202-225-5034

Appropriations

12

Holt, Rush

D

202-225-5801

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

New Mexico

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Lujan Grisham, Michelle

D

202-225-6316

Agriculture
Budget
Oversight and Government Reform

2

Pearce, Steve

R

202-225-2365

Financial Services

3

Lujan, Ben R.

D

202-225-6190

Energy and Commerce

New York

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bishop, Timothy

D

202-225-3826

Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

2

King, Pete

R

202-225-7896

Financial Services
Homeland Security
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Israel, Steve

D

202-225-3335

4

McCarthy, Carolyn

D

202-225-5516

Education and the Workforce
Financial Services

5

Meeks, Gregory W.

D

202-225-3461

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

6

Meng, Grace

D

202-225-2601

Foreign Affairs
Small Business

7

Velázquez, Nydia M.

D

202-225-2361

Financial Services
Small Business

8

Jeffries, Hakeem

D

202-225-5936

Budget
Judiciary

9

Clarke, Yvette D.

D

202-225-6231

Ethics
Homeland Security
Small Business

10

Nadler, Jerrold

D

202-225-5635

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Grimm, Michael

R

202-225-3371

Financial Services

12

Maloney, Carolyn

D

202-225-7944

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

13

Rangel, Charles B.

D

202-225-4365

Ways and Means

14

Crowley, Joseph

D

202-225-3965

Ways and Means

15

Serrano, José E.

D

202-225-4361

Appropriations

16

Engel, Eliot

D

202-225-2464

Energy and Commerce
Foreign Affairs

17

Lowey, Nita

D

202-225-6506

Appropriations

18

Maloney, Sean Patrick

D

202-225-5441

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

19

Gibson, Chris

R

202-225-5614

Agriculture
Armed Services

20

Tonko, Paul D.

D

202-225-5076

Energy and Commerce

21

Owens, Bill

D

202-225-4611

Appropriations

22

Hanna, Richard

R

202-225-3665

Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

23

Reed, Tom

R

202-225-3161

Ways and Means

24

Maffei, Daniel

D

202-225-3701

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

25

Slaughter, Louise

D

202-225-3615

Rules

26

Higgins, Brian

D

202-225-3306

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

27

Collins, Chris

R

202-225-5265

Agriculture
Small Business

North Carolina

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Butterfield, G.K.

D

202-225-3101

Energy and Commerce

2

Ellmers, Renee

R

202-225-4531

Energy and Commerce

3

Jones, Walter B.

R

202-225-3415

Armed Services

4

Price, David

D

202-225-1784

Appropriations

5

Foxx, Virginia

R

202-225-2071

Education and the Workforce
Rules

6

Coble, Howard

R

202-225-3065

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

7

McIntyre, Mike

D

202-225-2731

Agriculture
Armed Services

8

Hudson, Richard

R

202-225-3715

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Homeland Security

9

Pittenger, Robert

R

202-225-1976

Financial Services

10

McHenry, Patrick T.

R

202-225-2576

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

11

Meadows, Mark

R

202-225-6401

Foreign Affairs
Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

12

Watt, Mel

D

202-225-1510

Financial Services
Judiciary

13

Holding, George

R

202-225-3032

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

North Dakota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Cramer, Kevin

R

202-225-2611

Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

Northern Mariana Islands

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Sablan, Gregorio

D

202-225-2646

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

Ohio

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Chabot, Steve

R

202-225-2216

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Small Business

2

Wenstrup, Brad

R

202-225-3164

Armed Services
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Beatty, Joyce

D

202-225-4324

Financial Services

4

Jordan, Jim

R

202-225-2676

Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Latta, Robert E.

R

202-225-6405

Energy and Commerce

6

Johnson, Bill

R

202-225-5705

Energy and Commerce

7

Gibbs, Bob

R

202-225-6265

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Boehner, John A.

R

202-225-6205

The Speaker

9

Kaptur, Marcy

D

202-225-4146

Appropriations

10

Turner, Michael

R

202-225-6465

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

11

Fudge, Marcia L.

D

202-225-7032

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce

12

Tiberi, Pat

R

202-225-5355

Ways and Means

13

Ryan, Tim

D

202-225-5261

Appropriations
Budget

14

Joyce, David

R

202-225-5731

Appropriations

15

Stivers, Steve

R

202-225-2015

Financial Services

16

Renacci, Jim

R

202-225-3876

Ways and Means

Oklahoma

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bridenstine, Jim

R

202-225-2211

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

2

Mullin, Markwayne

R

202-225-2701

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Lucas, Frank

R

202-225-5565

Agriculture, Chairman
Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

4

Cole, Tom

R

202-225-6165

Appropriations
Budget
Rules

5

Lankford, James

R

202-225-2132

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform

Oregon

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bonamici, Suzanne

D

202-225-0855

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology

2

Walden, Greg

R

202-225-6730

Energy and Commerce

3

Blumenauer, Earl

D

202-225-4811

Budget
Ways and Means

4

DeFazio, Peter

D

202-225-6416

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Schrader, Kurt

D

202-225-5711

Agriculture
Budget
Small Business

Pennsylvania

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Brady, Robert

D

202-225-4731

Armed Services
House Administration

2

Fattah, Chaka

D

202-225-4001

Appropriations

3

Kelly, Mike

R

202-225-5406

Ways and Means

4

Perry, Scott

R

202-225-5836

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Thompson, Glenn W.

R

202-225-5121

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

6

Gerlach, Jim

R

202-225-4315

Ways and Means

7

Meehan, Pat

R

202-225-2011

Ethics
Homeland Security
Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Fitzpatrick, Michael G.

R

202-225-4276

Financial Services

9

Shuster, Bill

R

202-225-2431

Transportation and Infrastructure, Chairman
Armed Services

10

Marino, Tom

R

202-225-3731

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Judiciary

11

Barletta, Lou

R

202-225-6511

Education and the Workforce
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

12

Rothfus, Keith

R

202-225-2065

Financial Services

13

Schwartz, Allyson Y.

D

202-225-6111

Budget
Ways and Means

14

Doyle, Mike

D

202-225-2135

Energy and Commerce

15

Dent, Charles W.

R

202-225-6411

Appropriations
Ethics

16

Pitts, Joseph R.

R

202-225-2411

Energy and Commerce

17

Cartwright, Matthew

D

202-225-5546

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

18

Murphy, Tim

R

202-225-2301

Energy and Commerce

Puerto Rico

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Pierluisi, Pedro

D

202-225-2615

Ethics
Judiciary
Natural Resources

Rhode Island

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Cicilline, David

D

202-225-4911

Budget
Foreign Affairs

2

Langevin, Jim

D

202-225-2735

Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

South Carolina

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Sanford, Mark

R

202-225-3176

2

Wilson, Joe

R

202-225-2452

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

3

Duncan, Jeff

R

202-225-5301

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security
Natural Resources

4

Gowdy, Trey

R

202-225-6030

Education and the Workforce
Ethics
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Mulvaney, Mick

R

202-225-5501

Financial Services
Small Business

6

Clyburn, James E.

D

202-225-3315

Assistant Democratic Leader

7

Rice, Tom

R

202-225-9895

Budget
Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

South Dakota

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Noem, Kristi

R

202-225-2801

Agriculture
Armed Services

Tennessee

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Roe, Phil

R

202-225-6356

Education and the Workforce
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Duncan Jr., John J.

R

202-225-5435

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Fleischmann, Chuck

R

202-225-3271

Appropriations

4

DesJarlais, Scott

R

202-225-6831

Agriculture
Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Cooper, Jim

D

202-225-4311

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

6

Black, Diane

R

202-225-4231

Budget
Ways and Means

7

Blackburn, Marsha

R

202-225-2811

Budget
Energy and Commerce

8

Fincher, Stephen

R

202-225-4714

Agriculture
Financial Services

9

Cohen, Steve

D

202-225-3265

Judiciary
Transportation and Infrastructure

Texas

District

Name/Webpage

Party

   Phone

    Committee Assignment

1

Gohmert, Louie

R

202-225-3035

Judiciary
Natural Resources

2

Poe, Ted

R

202-225-6565

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

3

Johnson, Sam

R

202-225-4201

Ways and Means

4

Hall, Ralph M.

R

202-225-6673

Energy and Commerce
Science, Space, and Technology

5

Hensarling, Jeb

R

202-225-3484

Financial Services, Chairman

6

Barton, Joe

R

202-225-2002

Energy and Commerce

7

Culberson, John

R

202-225-2571

Appropriations

8

Brady, Kevin

R

202-225-4901

Ways and Means

9

Green, Al

D

202-225-7508

Financial Services

10

McCaul, Michael T.

R

202-225-2401

Homeland Security, Chairman
Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

11

Conaway, K. Michael

R

202-225-3605

Ethics, Chairman
Agriculture
Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

12

Granger, Kay

R

202-225-5071

Appropriations

13

Thornberry, Mac

R

202-225-3706

Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

14

Weber, Randy

R

202-225-2831

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

15

Hinojosa, Rubén

D

202-225-2531

Education and the Workforce
Financial Services

16

O’Rourke, Beto

D

202-225-4831

Homeland Security
Veterans’ Affairs

17

Flores, Bill

R

202-225-6105

Budget
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

18

Jackson Lee, Sheila

D

202-225-3816

Homeland Security
Judiciary

19

Neugebauer, Randy

R

202-225-4005

Agriculture
Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

20

Castro, Joaquin

D

202-225-3236

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs

21

Smith, Lamar

R

202-225-4236

Science, Space, and Technology, Chairman
Homeland Security
Judiciary

22

Olson, Pete

R

202-225-5951

Energy and Commerce

23

Gallego, Pete

D

202-225-4511

Agriculture
Armed Services

24

Marchant, Kenny

R

202-225-6605

Education and the Workforce
Ways and Means

25

Williams, Roger

R

202-225-9896

Budget
Transportation and Infrastructure

26

Burgess, Michael

R

202-225-7772

Energy and Commerce
Rules

27

Farenthold, Blake

R

202-225-7742

Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

28

Cuellar, Henry

D

202-225-1640

Appropriations

29

Green, Gene

D

202-225-1688

Energy and Commerce

30

Johnson, Eddie Bernice

D

202-225-8885

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

31

Carter, John

R

202-225-3864

Appropriations

32

Sessions, Pete

R

202-225-2231

Rules, Chairman

33

Veasey, Marc

D

202-225-9897

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

34

Vela, Filemon

D

202-225-9901

Agriculture
Homeland Security

35

Doggett, Lloyd

D

202-225-4865

Ways and Means

36

Stockman, Steve

R

202-225-1555

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

Utah

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Bishop, Rob

R

202-225-0453

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Rules

2

Stewart, Chris

R

202-225-9730

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

3

Chaffetz, Jason

R

202-225-7751

Homeland Security
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

4

Matheson, Jim

D

202-225-3011

Energy and Commerce

Vermont

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Welch, Peter

D

202-225-4115

Energy and Commerce
Oversight and Government Reform

Virgin Islands

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Christensen, Donna M.,

D

202-225-1790

Energy and Commerce

Virginia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Wittman, Robert J.

R

202-225-4261

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Rigell, Scott

R

202-225-4215

Armed Services
Budget

3

Scott, Robert C.

D

202-225-8351

Education and the Workforce
Judiciary

4

Forbes, J. Randy

R

202-225-6365

Armed Services
Judiciary

5

Hurt, Robert

R

202-225-4711

Financial Services

6

Goodlatte, Bob

R

202-225-5431

Judiciary, Chairman
Agriculture

7

Cantor, Eric

R

202-225-2815

Majority Leader

8

Moran, James

D

202-225-4376

Appropriations

9

Griffith, Morgan

R

202-225-3861

Energy and Commerce

10

Wolf, Frank

R

202-225-5136

Appropriations

11

Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry”

D

202-225-1492

Foreign Affairs
Oversight and Government Reform

Washington

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

DelBene, Suzan

D

202-225-6311

Agriculture
Judiciary

2

Larsen, Rick

D

202-225-2605

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Herrera Beutler, Jaime

R

202-225-3536

Appropriations
Small Business

4

Hastings, Doc

R

202-225-5816

Natural Resources, Chairman
Oversight and Government Reform

5

McMorris Rodgers, Cathy

R

202-225-2006

Energy and Commerce

6

Kilmer, Derek

D

202-225-5916

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

7

McDermott, Jim

D

202-225-3106

Budget
Ways and Means

8

Reichert, David G.

R

202-225-7761

Ways and Means

9

Smith, Adam

D

202-225-8901

Armed Services

10

Heck, Denny

D

202-225-9740

Financial Services

West Virginia

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

McKinley, David

R

202-225-4172

Energy and Commerce

2

Capito, Shelley Moore

R

202-225-2711

Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Rahall, Nick

D

202-225-3452

Transportation and Infrastructure

Wisconsin

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Ryan, Paul

R

202-225-3031

Budget, Chairman
Ways and Means

2

Pocan, Mark

D

202-225-2906

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform

3

Kind, Ron

D

202-225-5506

Ways and Means

4

Moore, Gwen

D

202-225-4572

Budget
Financial Services

5

Sensenbrenner, F. James

R

202-225-5101

Judiciary
Science, Space, and Technology

6

Petri, Thomas

R

202-225-2476

Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

7

Duffy, Sean P.

R

202-225-3365

Budget
Financial Services

8

Ribble, Reid

R

202-225-5665

Agriculture
Budget
Transportation and Infrastructure

Wyoming

District

Name/Webpage

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Lummis, Cynthia M.

R

202-225-2311

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology

House of Representative Phone Numbers and Committee Assignments

Alabama

District

Name

Party

Phone

                Committee Assignment

1

Bonner, Jo

R

202-225-4931

Appropriations

2

Roby, Martha

R

202-225-2901

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Rogers (AL), Mike

R

202-225-3261

Agriculture
Armed Services
Homeland Security

4

Aderholt, Robert

R

202-225-4876

Appropriations

5

Brooks, Mo

R

202-225-4801

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

6

Bachus, Spencer

R

202-225-4921

Financial Services
Judiciary

7

Sewell, Terri A.

D

202-225-2665

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Alaska

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Young, Don

R

202-225-5765

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

American Samoa

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Faleomavaega, Eni F. H.

D

202-225-8577

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

Arizona

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kirkpatrick, Ann

D

202-225-3361

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Barber, Ron

D

202-225-2542

Armed Services
Homeland Security
Small Business

3

Grijalva, Raul

D

202-225-2435

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

4

Gosar, Paul A.

R

202-225-2315

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

5

Salmon, Matt

R

202-225-2635

Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

6

Schweikert, David

R

202-225-2190

Science, Space, and Technology
Small Business

7

Pastor, Ed

D

202-225-4065

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

8

Franks, Trent

R

202-225-4576

Armed Services
Judiciary

9

Sinema, Kyrsten

D

202-225-9888

Financial Services

Arkansas

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Crawford, Rick

R

202-225-4076

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

2

Griffin, Tim

R

202-225-2506

Ways and Means

3

Womack, Steve

R

202-225-4301

Appropriations

4

Cotton, Tom

R

202-225-3772

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

California

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

LaMalfa, Doug

R

202-225-3076

Agriculture
Natural Resources

2

Huffman, Jared

D

202-225-5161

Budget
Natural Resources

3

Garamendi, John

D

202-225-1880

Agriculture
Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

McClintock, Tom

R

202-225-2511

Budget
Natural Resources

5

Thompson, Mike

D

202-225-3311

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

6

Matsui, Doris O.

D

202-225-7163

Energy and Commerce

7

Bera, Ami

D

202-225-5716

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

8

Cook, Paul

R

202-225-5861

Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Veterans’ Affairs

9

McNerney, Jerry

D

202-225-1947

Energy and Commerce

10

Denham, Jeff

R

202-225-4540

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

11

Miller, George

D

202-225-2095

Education and the Workforce

12

Pelosi, Nancy

D

202-225-4965

Democratic Leader

13

Lee, Barbara

D

202-225-2661

Appropriations
Budget

14

Speier, Jackie

D

202-225-3531

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

15

Swalwell, Eric

D

202-225-5065

Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology

16

Costa, Jim

D

202-225-3341

Agriculture
Natural Resources

17

Honda, Mike

D

202-225-2631

Appropriations

18

Eshoo, Anna G.

D

202-225-8104

Energy and Commerce

19

Lofgren, Zoe

D

202-225-3072

House Administration
Judiciary
Science, Space, and Technology

20

Farr, Sam

D

202-225-2861

Appropriations

21

Valadao, David

R

202-225-4695

Appropriations

22

Nunes, Devin

R

202-225-2523

Ways and Means
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

23

McCarthy, Kevin

R

202-225-2915

Majority Whip
Financial Services

24

Capps, Lois

D

202-225-3601

Energy and Commerce

25

McKeon, Buck

R

202-225-1956

Armed Services, Chairman
Education and the Workforce

26

Brownley, Julia

D

202-225-5811

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

27

Chu, Judy

D

202-225-5464

Judiciary
Small Business

28

Schiff, Adam

D

202-225-4176

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

29

Cárdenas, Tony

D

202-225-6131

Budget
Natural Resources
Oversight and Government Reform

30

Sherman, Brad

D

202-225-5911

Financial Services
Foreign Affairs

31

Miller, Gary

R

202-225-3201

Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

32

Napolitano, Grace

D

202-225-5256

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

33

Waxman, Henry

D

202-225-3976

Energy and Commerce

34

Becerra, Xavier

D

202-225-6235

Ways and Means

35

Negrete McLeod, Gloria

D

202-225-6161

Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs

36

Ruiz, Raul

D

202-225-5330

Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

37

Bass, Karen

D

202-225-7084

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

38

Sanchez, Linda

D

202-225-6676

Ethics
Ways and Means

39

Royce, Ed

R

202-225-4111

Foreign Affairs, Chairman
Financial Services

40

Roybal-Allard, Lucille

D

202-225-1766

Appropriations

41

Takano, Mark

D

202-225-2305

Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs

42

Calvert, Ken

R

202-225-1986

Appropriations
Budget

43

Waters, Maxine

D

202-225-2201

Financial Services

44

Hahn, Janice

D

202-225-8220

Small Business
Transportation and Infrastructure

45

Campbell, John

R

202-225-5611

Budget
Financial Services

46

Sanchez, Loretta

D

202-225-2965

Armed Services
Homeland Security

47

Lowenthal, Alan

D

202-225-7924

Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources

48

Rohrabacher, Dana

R

202-225-2415

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

49

Issa, Darrell

R

202-225-3906

Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman
Judiciary

50

Hunter, Duncan D.

R

202-225-5672

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
Transportation and Infrastructure

51

Vargas, Juan

D

202-225-8045

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
House Administration

52

Peters, Scott

D

202-225-0508

Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology

53

Davis, Susan

D

202-225-2040

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

Colorado

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

DeGette, Diana

D

202-225-4431

Energy and Commerce

2

Polis, Jared

D

202-225-2161

Education and the Workforce
Rules

3

Tipton, Scott

R

202-225-4761

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Small Business

4

Gardner, Cory

R

202-225-4676

Energy and Commerce

5

Lamborn, Doug

R

202-225-4422

Armed Services
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

6

Coffman, Mike

R

202-225-7882

Armed Services
Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

7

Perlmutter, Ed

D

202-225-2645

Financial Services

Connecticut

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Larson, John B.

D

202-225-2265

Ways and Means

2

Courtney, Joe

D

202-225-2076

Agriculture
Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

DeLauro, Rosa L.

D

202-225-3661

Appropriations

4

Himes, Jim

D

202-225-5541

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Esty, Elizabeth

D

202-225-4476

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

Delaware

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Carney, John

D

202-225-4165

Financial Services

District of Columbia

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Norton, Eleanor Holmes

D

202-225-8050

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

Florida

District

Name

Party

Phone

                          Committee Assignment

1

Miller, Jeff

R

202-225-4136

Veterans’ Affairs, Chairman
Armed Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

2

Southerland, Steve

R

202-225-5235

Natural Resources
Transportation and Infrastructure

3

Yoho, Ted

R

202-225-5744

Agriculture
Foreign Affairs

4

Crenshaw, Ander

R

202-225-2501

Appropriations

5

Brown, Corrine

D

202-225-0123

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

6

DeSantis, Ron

R

202-225-2706

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Mica, John

R

202-225-4035

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Posey, Bill

R

202-225-3671

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

9

Grayson, Alan

D

202-225-9889

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

10

Webster, Daniel

R

202-225-2176

Rules
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Nugent, Richard

R

202-225-1002

Armed Services
House Administration
Rules

12

Bilirakis, Gus M.

R

202-225-5755

Energy and Commerce
Veterans’ Affairs

13

Young, C.W. Bill

R

202-225-5961

Appropriations

14

Castor, Kathy

D

202-225-3376

Budget
Energy and Commerce

15

Ross, Dennis

R

202-225-1252

Financial Services

16

Buchanan, Vern

R

202-225-5015

Ways and Means

17

Rooney, Tom

R

202-225-5792

Appropriations
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

18

Murphy, Patrick

D

202-225-3026

Financial Services
Small Business

19

Radel, Trey

R

202-225-2536

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

20

Hastings, Alcee L.

D

202-225-1313

Rules

21

Deutch, Ted

D

202-225-3001

Ethics
Foreign Affairs
Judiciary

22

Frankel, Lois

D

202-225-9890

Foreign Affairs
Transportation and Infrastructure

23

Wasserman Schultz, Debbie

D

202-225-7931

Appropriations

24

Wilson, Frederica

D

202-225-4506

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology

25

Diaz-Balart, Mario

R

202-225-4211

Appropriations

26

Garcia, Joe

D

202-225-2778

Judiciary
Natural Resources

27

Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana

R

202-225-3931

Foreign Affairs
Rules

Georgia

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Kingston, Jack

R

202-225-5831

Appropriations

2

Bishop Jr., Sanford D.

D

202-225-3631

Appropriations

3

Westmoreland, Lynn A.

R

202-225-5901

Financial Services
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

4

Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” Jr.

D

202-225-1605

Armed Services
Judiciary

5

Lewis, John

D

202-225-3801

Ways and Means

6

Price, Tom

R

202-225-4501

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Ways and Means

7

Woodall, Robert

R

202-225-4272

Budget
Oversight and Government Reform
Rules

8

Scott, Austin

R

202-225-6531

Agriculture
Armed Services

9

Collins, Doug

R

202-225-9893

Foreign Affairs
Judiciary
Oversight and Government Reform

10

Broun, Paul C.

R

202-225-4101

Homeland Security
Natural Resources
Science, Space, and Technology

11

Gingrey, Phil

R

202-225-2931

Energy and Commerce
House Administration

12

Barrow, John

D

202-225-2823

Energy and Commerce

13

Scott, David

D

202-225-2939

Agriculture
Financial Services

14

Graves, Tom

R

202-225-5211

Appropriations

Guam

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

At Large

Bordallo, Madeleine

D

202-225-1188

Armed Services
Natural Resources

Hawaii

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Hanabusa, Colleen

D

202-225-2726

Armed Services
Natural Resources

2

Gabbard, Tulsi

D

202-225-4906

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Idaho

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Labrador, Raul R.

R

202-225-6611

Judiciary
Natural Resources

2

Simpson, Mike

R

202-225-5531

Appropriations

Illinois

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Rush, Bobby L.

D

202-225-4372

Energy and Commerce

2

Kelly, Robin

D

202-225-0773

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology

3

Lipinski, Daniel

D

202-225-5701

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

4

Gutierrez, Luis

D

202-225-8203

Judiciary
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

5

Quigley, Mike

D

202-225-4061

Appropriations

6

Roskam, Peter J.

R

202-225-4561

Ways and Means

7

Davis, Danny K.

D

202-225-5006

Oversight and Government Reform
Ways and Means

8

Duckworth, Tammy

D

202-225-3711

Armed Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Schakowsky, Jan

D

202-225-2111

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

10

Schneider, Brad

D

202-225-4835

Foreign Affairs
Small Business

11

Foster, Bill

D

202-225-3515

Financial Services

12

Enyart, William

D

202-225-5661

Agriculture
Armed Services

13

Davis, Rodney

R

202-225-2371

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

14

Hultgren, Randy

R

202-225-2976

Financial Services
Science, Space, and Technology

15

Shimkus, John

R

202-225-5271

Energy and Commerce

16

Kinzinger, Adam

R

202-225-3635

Energy and Commerce
Foreign Affairs

17

Bustos, Cheri

D

202-225-5905

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure

18

Schock, Aaron

R

202-225-6201

House Administration
Ways and Means

Indiana

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Visclosky, Peter

D

202-225-2461

Appropriations

2

Walorski, Jackie

R

202-225-3915

Armed Services
Budget
Veterans’ Affairs

3

Stutzman, Marlin

R

202-225-4436

Financial Services

4

Rokita, Todd

R

202-225-5037

Budget
Education and the Workforce
House Administration

5

Brooks, Susan W.

R

202-225-2276

Education and the Workforce
Ethics
Homeland Security

6

Messer, Luke

R

202-225-3021

Budget
Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

7

Carson, André

D

202-225-4011

Armed Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Bucshon, Larry

R

202-225-4636

Education and the Workforce
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

9

Young, Todd

R

202-225-5315

Ways and Means

Iowa

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Braley, Bruce L.

D

202-225-2911

Energy and Commerce

2

Loebsack, David

D

202-225-6576

Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

3

Latham, Tom

R

202-225-5476

Appropriations

4

King, Steve

R

202-225-4426

Agriculture
Judiciary
Small Business

Kansas

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Huelskamp, Tim

R

202-225-2715

Small Business
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Jenkins, Lynn

R

202-225-6601

Ways and Means

3

Yoder, Kevin

R

202-225-2865

Appropriations

4

Pompeo, Mike

R

202-225-6216

Energy and Commerce
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Kentucky

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Whitfield, Ed

R

202-225-3115

Energy and Commerce

2

Guthrie, S. Brett

R

202-225-3501

Education and the Workforce
Energy and Commerce

3

Yarmuth, John A.

D

202-225-5401

Budget
Education and the Workforce

4

Massie, Thomas

R

202-225-3465

Oversight and Government Reform
Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Rogers, Harold

R

202-225-4601

Appropriations, Chairman

6

Barr, Andy

R

202-225-4706

Financial Services

Louisiana

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Scalise, Steve

R

202-225-3015

Energy and Commerce

2

Richmond, Cedric

D

202-225-6636

Homeland Security
Judiciary

3

Boustany Jr., Charles W.

R

202-225-2031

Ways and Means

4

Fleming, John

R

202-225-2777

Armed Services
Natural Resources

5

Alexander, Rodney

R

202-225-8490

Appropriations

6

Cassidy, William

R

202-225-3901

Energy and Commerce

Maine

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Pingree, Chellie

D

202-225-6116

Appropriations

2

Michaud, Michael

D

202-225-6306

Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

Maryland

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Harris, Andy

R

202-225-5311

Appropriations

2

Ruppersberger, Dutch

D

202-225-3061

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

3

Sarbanes, John P.

D

202-225-4016

Energy and Commerce

4

Edwards, Donna F.

D

202-225-8699

Science, Space, and Technology
Transportation and Infrastructure

5

Hoyer, Steny H.

D

202-225-4131

Democratic Whip

6

Delaney, John

D

202-225-2721

Financial Services

7

Cummings, Elijah

D

202-225-4741

Oversight and Government Reform
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Van Hollen, Chris

D

202-225-5341

Budget

Massachusetts

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Neal, Richard E.

D

202-225-5601

Ways and Means

2

McGovern, James

D

202-225-6101

Agriculture
Rules

3

Tsongas, Niki

D

202-225-3411

Armed Services
Natural Resources

4

Kennedy III, Joseph P.

D

202-225-5931

Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology

5

Markey, Ed

D

202-225-2836

Energy and Commerce
Natural Resources

6

Tierney, John

D

202-225-8020

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

7

Capuano, Michael E.

D

202-225-5111

Ethics
Financial Services
Transportation and Infrastructure

8

Lynch, Stephen F.

D

202-225-8273

Financial Services
Oversight and Government Reform

9

Keating, William

D

202-225-3111

Foreign Affairs
Homeland Security

Michigan

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Benishek, Dan

R

202-225-4735

Agriculture
Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Huizenga, Bill

R

202-225-4401

Financial Services

3

Amash, Justin

R

202-225-3831

Oversight and Government Reform

4

Camp, Dave

R

202-225-3561

Ways and Means, Chairman

5

Kildee, Daniel

D

202-225-3611

Financial Services

6

Upton, Fred

R

202-225-3761

Energy and Commerce, Chairman

7

Walberg, Tim

R

202-225-6276

Education and the Workforce
Oversight and Government Reform

8

Rogers (MI), Mike

R

202-225-4872

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman
Energy and Commerce

9

Levin, Sander

D

202-225-4961

Ways and Means

10

Miller, Candice

R

202-225-2106

House Administration, Chairman
Homeland Security
Transportation and Infrastructure

11

Bentivolio, Kerry

R

202-225-8171

Oversight and Government Reform
Small Business

12

Dingell, John

D

202-225-4071

Energy and Commerce

13

Conyers Jr., John

D

202-225-5126

Judiciary

14

Peters, Gary

D

202-225-5802

Financial Services

Minnesota

District

Name

Party

Phone

Committee Assignment

1

Walz, Timothy J.

D

202-225-2472

Agriculture
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans’ Affairs

2

Kline, John

R

202-225-2271

Education and the Workforce, Chairman
Armed Services

3

Paulsen, Erik

R

202-225-2871

Ways and Means

4

McCollum, Betty

D

202-225-6631

Appropriations

5

Ellison, Keith

D