The Congress Shall Have Power to …

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Article I, Section 8 begins with “The Congress shall have power to …” There follows a long list of what it has power to do, such as provide and maintain a Navy.

The Constitution doesn’t mandate a Navy or anything else in that list. Congress has the option to do those things. It may or it may not. That’s what having the power to do something means. The document doesn’t require that Congress do anything in that list. If it did, it would simply say “Congress shall provide and maintain a Navy.”

1:09 pm on August 20, 2013