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In starting a student convention tomorrow to reconsider the Constitution in the light of modern conditions, the Council of Government Concentrators has chosen a fitting way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the turbulent 1787 Convention. With hysterical cries like "scrapping the Constitution" and "assaults on Constitutional morality" booming from Senate committee rooms and Washington radio stations, the student committee on constitutional philosophy has a signal opportunity to see whether the philosophy of the framers is in any way consistent with the policies of the present administration.
The student committee might delve into the question of whether the framers' decision to enumerate the powers of Congress necessarily implies a desire to limit Federal power to the express delegation of the Constitution. It will be remembered that Madison, while favoring the enumeration of powers, protested against confining a government to the exercise of express powers, saying that "there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication." But while the framers wrote a constitution with implied as well as enumerated powers, judicial interpretation has tended to stretch, however slowly, the powers of the central government. Nevertheless, there are many who favor a "clarifying amendment" rather than extending to the limit the burden of borderline interpretation to which the Court is heir.
While the solution of present day problems cannot be referred to constitutional giants long dead, a searching analysis of the intentions of the framers might weaken the confidence of those who favor so gaily "change by usurpation". Any intelligent discussion of the constitution can help to discredit deceptive interpretations born of extravagant claims sired in partisan debate.
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