The constitution of United States is a living document. It is not a scripture etched in stone that doesn’t have any room for interpretation, amendment or improvement. The constitution is consistently interpreted by the judicial system. It is amended and improved by the legislature. It is also acted upon in adhere to the various laws by the executive. The constitution would cease to evolve if there weren’t enough provisions in it to make such evolution possible. One such provision is the necessary and proper clause.
What is the Necessary and Proper Clause?
Also known as the elastic clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause is laid out in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution of United States. Literally, the clause grants the authority to Congress to create and enforce any law that is necessary and proper. That is of course subjective, circumstantial and given the need of the hour. Also, the necessity and whether or not a law is proper depend on a sensible assessment of the proposed legislation, law or reform.
The Congress is the lawmaking body. Barring the exclusive domains of the executive and the realms of the judiciary, the Congress can make laws that would lay out the right way of doing things. They can also make laws that would govern the executive and for the judiciary to uphold.
Implications of the Elastic Clause!
When the constitution was first drafted or even conceived, there was clearly a need to keep provisions that would pave the way for making new laws as and when they were necessary. Surely, the constitution dating back more than two centuries couldn’t have accounted for laws that would be significant or needed today. Even today, we don’t know what laws we would need for our country five decades from now. If the constitution doesn’t or didn’t have any provision for lawmakers to make new laws, then it would become a redundant document and not an embodiment of our democracy.
Anyone who thinks that the elastic clause can be misinterpreted or is needless fails to recognize its significance. All laws that have been made over the last two centuries, allowing the country to achieve the echelons that it has and ensuring that we continue to evolve have been partly because of the consistent evolution of our constitution. That wouldn’t happen if the federal government or the Congress doesn’t have the authority to make laws that are necessary and relevant.