Source Publication Abbreviation
U. Kan. L. Rev.
This article examines the three traditional interpretations of the General Welfare Clause -- first, that it is a plenary grant of regulatory and spending power to Congress; second, that it is a plenary grant of spending power only; and third, that it is not a grant of power at all. The author finds severe textual problems with the first and second interpretations and his historical analysis confirms that those interpretations have little basis in original understanding. The third view, says the author, is the most textually sound.
Part II of the article addresses prior studies of the General Welfare Clause and the neglect of ratification. Part III considers leading interpretations of the General Welfare Clause. Part IV examines the three textual analyses of the General Welfare Clause. Part V looks at the history prior to the Federal Constitutional Convention and Part VI assesses proceedings and implications of the Federal Constitutional Convention. Lastly, Part VII traces the course of the ratification debate and the General Welfare Clause as a "non-power."
Natelson, Robert G., "The General Welfare Clause and the Public Trust: An Essay in Original Understanding" (2003). Faculty Law Review Articles. 94.