Each member of the House has had to attach a Constitutional Authority Statement (CAS) to every proposed bill since Jan. 5, 2011.
However, one group of Republicans is unimpressed by the offered justifications for constitutionality.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) analyzes each statement—3,865 in the first year alone—and in response to some of the more questionable justifications began emailing every congressional office a “Questionable Constitutional Authority Statement of the Week.”
“We started highlighting horrible Constitutional Authority Statements because there were so many of them,” said Brian Straessle, RSC spokesman. “Think of it as a shaming mechanism to get people to think seriously and carefully about the intended limits of the federal government’s power.”
For example, the justification for bill H.R. 401, to honor Muhammad Ali earned recognition from the RSC on the week of June 7.
H.R. 401 authorized President Barack Obama to present the famous boxer with a gold medal on behalf of Congress. The CAS cited “Clause 2 of Section 5 of Article I of the Constitution, Clause 1 of Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, and Clause 18 of Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution.”
The RSC responded by saying, “The statement cites three different potential justifications for the legislation, and neither individually nor as a group do these seriously attempt to justify the proposed action.”