Centinel V (excerpt)

Fall 1787


The words "pursuant to the constitution" will be no restriction to the authority of congress; for the foregoing section gives them unlimited legislation; their unbounded power of taxation does alone include all others, as whoever has the purse strings will have full dominion. But the convention has superadded another power, by which the congress may stamp with the sanction of the constitution every possible law; it is contained in the following clause—"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." Whatever law congress may deem necessary and proper for carrying into execution any of the powers vested in them, may be enacted; and by virtue of this clause, they may controul and abrogate any and every of the laws of the state governments, on the allegation that they interfere with the execution of any of their powers, and yet these laws will "be made in pursuance of the constitution," and of course will "be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."