Michael Schwarz: Congress Has Strayed from Constitution

[Michael Schwarz is an assistant professor of history at Ashland University and a fellow of the Ashbrook Center.]

There may not be a silver lining in every dark cloud, but it often seems that way in American politics. The outgoing 111th Congress, which a majority of American voters has judged to be one dark storm cloud, leaves behind it at least one silver lining: As a result of its actions, a serious political conversation began.

Alarmed by the sudden expansion of government into areas of their lives they did not imagine it could or would go — the health care and automotive industries, for example — many Americans took up the serious discussion of their republic and its constitutional principles.

They are now asking serious questions of their representatives. From what source does the federal government derive the sweeping authority it now claims? How do we determine the appropriate balance between government power and liberty? In times of political ferment, these problems merit reflection from all points on the political spectrum....

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