McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

“[T]he Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress broad authority to enact federal legislation. Nearly 200 years ago, this Court stated that the Federal ‘[G]overnment is acknowledged by all to be one of the enumerated powers,’ McCulloch, which means that ‘[e]very law enacted by Congress must be based on one or more of’ those powers, United States v. Morrison (2000). But, at the same time, ‘a government, entrusted with such’ powers ‘must also be entrusted with ample means for their execution.’ McCulloch. Accordingly, the Necessary and Proper Clause makes clear that the Constitution’s grants of specific legislative authority are accompanied by broad power to enact laws that are ‘convenient, or useful’ or ‘conducive’ to the authority’s ‘beneficial exercise.’ Id….Chief Justice Marshall emphasized that the word ‘necessary’ does not mean ‘absolutely necessary.’ Id….In language that has come to define the scope of the Necessary and Proper Clause, he wrote: ‘Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional.’ McCulloch. We have since made clear that, in determining whether the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the legislative authority to enact a particular federal statute, we look to see whether the statute constitutes a means that is rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated power. Sabri v. United States (2004).” J. Breyer, United States v. Comstock, 130 S.Ct. 1949, 1956 (2010).