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Article I of the United States Constitution begins as follows: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States[.]” That text is sometimes called the Vesting Clause, or, more precisely, the Article I Vesting Clause, because Articles II and III also begin with Vesting Clauses. And there is a feature of those three clauses, when compared, to which twenty-first century constitutional lawyers commonly attribute considerable significance. Although the three Clauses are similar in other ways, the syntax of Article I’s Vesting Clause is not fully parallel to that of the other two. The Vesting Clauses of Articles II and III say, respectively, that “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” and “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” They do not say that the President and the courts exercise the executive and judicial powers “herein granted.”


Reproduced with permission of the University of Minnesota Press. Originally published as Primus, Richard A. "Herein of 'Herein Granted': Why Article I's Vesting Clause Does Not Support the Doctrine of Enumerated Powers." Constitutional Commentary 35, no. 3 (2020): 301-44.