About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

1 1 (January 26, 2023)

handle is hein.crs/govekjl0001 and id is 1 raw text is: Informing

sona! Researet, Service
heled Iltive cI bat since 1914

January 26, 2023

Constitutional Authority Statements: A Quick Guide

House Rule XII, clause 7(c), requires that all bills or joint
resolutions introduced in the House include a Constitutional
Authority Statement (CAS). No statement is required for
simple or concurrent resolutions, neither of which can
become law. A CAS identifies Congress's constitutional
authority to enact the bill or joint resolution. This In Focus
provides background on the rule, as well as questions and
suggested citations to consider when drafting CASs.
H ouse Rule XII, Clause 7(c)
The CAS requirement was adopted as an amendment to
House Rule XII on January 5, 2011, and has been
incorporated in the standing rules of each subsequent
Congress. House Rule XII, clause 7(c), requires Members
to submit at the time of introduction a statement citing as
specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to
Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint
resolution. A CAS is not part of a bill or joint resolution's
text; instead, it accompanie[s] the legislation. The
submitted CAS appears in the Congressional Record and is
published on Congress.gov.
Form of Compliance with the CAS Rule
While the CAS rule requires Members to provide as
specifically as practicable a statement of Congress's
constitutional authority, the rule does not prescribe any
particular format or level of detail for CASs. The House
Office of the Legislative Counsel suggests on its website
the following citation formats:
For citation to a clause or section in an article of the
original Constitution: [clause xx of] section xx of
article xx of the Constitution, such as clause 3 of
section 8 of article I of the Constitution.
For citation to a section in an Amendment to the
Constitution: [section xx of] Amendment xx to the
Constitution, such as section 5 of Amendment
XIV to the Constitution.
Legal Implications of a CAS
CASs have limited legal significance in that the CAS of a
bill enacted into law is unlikely to alter a court's view of the
constitutionality of the legislation. The CAS is essentially a
statement by the sponsor when legislation is introduced and
is not formally part of a bill or joint resolution.
Constitutionally, it can have no legislative effect because it
is not subject to the approval of both houses of Congress or
presented to the President, as is required by Article I,
Section 7. Instead, a CAS is a type of legislative history that
describes the basis proffered by the bill's sponsor as to
Congress's power to enact the bill. CASs may be viewed as
akin to a statement in the Congressional Record or a
statement issued by the sponsor of a bill.

Consierations for Drafting a CAS
To help Members draft these statements, Table 1 below
provides a list of suggested citations that could potentially
be submitted in a CAS for various types of commonly
introduced legislation. It may also be helpful to consider the
following questions before submitting a CAS:
Does the CAS cite to a specific clause of the
Constitution? While some CASs cite to an entire article or
section of the Constitution, such as Article 1 or Article I,
Section 8, the prevailing customary practice has been to
cite to a specific clause of the Constitution, such as the
Commerce Clause found in Article I, Section 8, clause 3.
To the extent a Member wishes to cite to a specific clause
in a CAS, Table 1 may be a helpful resource to consult. A
CAS may include more than one of these sources of
constitutional authority for a bill, either because the bill as a
whole is supported by more than one constitutional
provision or because different parts of the bill require
Congress to exercise different authorities.
Does the CAS cite to a clause that affirmatively
empowers Congress to take an action? Article I, Section
9, of the Constitution (which contains limitations on the
powers of the federal government) and the first 10
constitutional amendments (also known as the Bill of
Rights) are commonly understood as restrictions on the
powers of the federal government rather than affirmative
grants of power. These provisions might help explain a
bill's purpose (for example, supporting the freedom of
speech) but alone are unlikely to establish Congress's
authority to enact legislation. In contrast, Article I, Section
8, contains the majority of commonly cited clauses that
provide Congress the affirmative power to legislate with
respect to various subjects.
Does the CAS cite to a clause that relates to and
authorizes the underlying legislation? A Member may
wish to cite to a constitutional provision that, based on
either historical understandings or judicial interpretations,
has some relationship with the subject matter of the
legislation. Citations to constitutional provisions like the
General Welfare Clause and the Military Regulation
Clause, for example, may not provide the necessary
authority to support all the provisions of a multi-faceted
bill. Attorneys in CRS's American Law Division can
provide advice with regard to specific CAS citations for
proposed legislation.
Does the CAS cite only to the Necessary and Proper
Clause? To the extent that a Member wishes to cite
exclusively to the Necessary and Proper Clause (Article I,
Section 8, clause 18), it may be helpful to remember that
courts have understood the Necessary and Proper Clause to

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most