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The Constitution - Some Facts at a Glance

Source: Chart of Powers Granted to Congress

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants the following legislative powers to Congress. Historians and legal scholars often distinguish between the first seventeen "enumerated" powers and the eighteenth and final clause which is the source of the "implied" powers.

Enumerated Powers:

1. To lay and collect taxes, to pay debts, and to provide for the common defense and general welfare

2. To borrow money

3. To regulate foreign and interstate commerce

4. To establish rules for naturalization (citizenship) and rules for bankruptcy

5. To coin money and fix a standard for weights and measures

6. To punish counterfeiters

7. To establish post offices and post roads

8. To establish rules for issuing patents and copyrights

9. To establish Federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court

10. To punish piracy and crimes on the high seas

11. To declare war

12. To raise and support an army

13. To provide and maintain a navy

14. To regulate and make rules for the army and navy

15. To call out the militia

16. To regulate and share control of the militia with the states

17. To make laws for the District of Columbia and other Federal lands, forts, and buildings, etc.

Implied Powers:

18. To make all laws necessary and proper to carrying out the above powers (and any other powers granted to the Federal government by the Consfitution)
  The above eighteen clauses constitute the sum total of the legislative powers granted to Congress.
Congress may not exercise its legislative authority on any other matters. But, since the full extent of
Congress' powers are left open to some degree of interpretation in Article I Section 8, Article I Section 9
offers a list of things Congress may NOT do under any circumstances:

Powers Denied to Congress:

1. To eliminate the slave trade before 1808

2. To suspend the writ of habeas corpus except in cases of rebellion or invasion

3. To pass bills of attainder or ex post facto laws

4. To pass direct taxes, head taxes or other taxes that are not in proportion to the population

5. To tax exports (from any state)

6. To prefer one state over another through the regulation of commerce

7. To spend government money without the specific authorization of law

8. To grant titles of nobility

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