June 19, 2006 5:43PM

A Modern‐​Day James Madison

As summarized over at the To the People blog, a Congressional Quarterly article (sorry, no link) on a proposed flag burning amendment includes this priceless passage:

Before approving the resolution, the committee rejected by voice vote an amendment by Joseph R. Biden Jr., D‐​Del., that would have prohibited burning, mutilating or trampling U.S. flags with an exception for disposing worn or soiled flags. Biden said he believed the resolution as written is too vague.

Supporters, including Hatch and Jon Kyl, R‐​Ariz., said the language is intentionally vague to leave the task of writing more precise language to a future Congress.

“What’s necessary here is to grant the broadest possible authority to Congress to legislate,” Kyl said.

Ah, yes. I believe it was in the long‐​lost, little‐​known “Federalist 86” that Madison conveyed the importance of a Constitution that grants the “broadest possible authority to Congress to legislate.” 

Word has it that Sen. Kyl owns the only surviving copy.