Unconstitutional Conditions: The Irrelevance of Consent
102 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 14, 2012
Unconstitutional conditions constitute the Gordian Knot of constitutional law. The standard solution is to slice through the knot with consent — to conclude that consent excuses otherwise unconstitutional restrictions. The role of consent, however, needs to be reconsidered. Rather than a solution, consent is the source of confusion.
The article concludes that private or state consent cannot justify the federal government in going beyond its legal limits. The Constitution’s limits on the government are legal limits imposed with the consent of the people. Therefore, neither private nor state consent can alter these limits or otherwise enlarge the federal government’s constitutional power.
Keywords: constitution, unconstitutional conditions, rights, First Amendment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation