The Original Meaning of Enumerated Powers

Andrew Coan, David S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution and must not be construed as the equivalent of a general police power. This doctrine of “enumerationism” is the linchpin of a multidecade conservative assault on the broad conception of federal powers recognized by the Supreme Court since 1937. The loudest champions of enumerationism are originalists. But even critics of originalism generally accept that enumerationism is rooted in the original public meaning of the Constitution. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a stronger—or broader—consensus on an important question of original meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-1039
Number of pages69
JournalIowa Law Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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