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02/19/2017

Robert Natelson: The Original Meaning of the Constitution's Postal Clause
Michael Ramsey

Robert G. Natelson (The Independence Institute) has posted Founding-Era Socialism: The Original Meaning of the Constitution's Postal Clause on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The Constitution’s Postal Clause granted Congress power to “establish Post Offices and post Roads.” This Article examines founding-era legal and historical materials to determine the original meaning and scope of the Postal Clause. It concludes that the Clause authorized Congress to pass all legislation necessary to create, operate, and regulate a unified transportation, freight, and courier system, although it also limited congressional authority in some respects. The founding-era reasons for the postal system were revenue, promotion of commerce, and political control. The Article also corrects some incorrect claims about the Clause previously advanced by legal scholars.

Professor Natelson adds:  

Because the Postal Clause authorizes Congress to "establish . . . post Roads" I had to address Prof. Baude's 2013 thesis that eminent domain was a "great power" and therefore not implied in the Constitution's grants of power. I find the thesis lacking support in founding era law.