Randy Barnett recounts that the framers of the Constitution “contended that the enumeration of powers in the Constitution was itself a bill of rights that would protect the liberties of the people.” Since it operates to the opposite effect, a bill of rights would therefore be “highly imprudent,” as James Wilson observed at the Philadelphia ratification convention. Wilson further observed:
A bill of rights annexed to a constitution is an enumeration of the powers reserved. If we attempt an enumeration, every thing that is not enumerated is presumed to be given. The consequence is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government, and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete.
James Iredell at the North Carolina ratification convention concurred, noting:
It would be the greatest absurdity for any man to pretend that, when a legislature is formed for a particular purpose, it can have any authority but what is so expressly given to it.
Were they not correct? Can advocacy of an Individual Mandate be anything but the rejection of the premise that Congress was “formed for a particular purpose”? The left has but one response to Madison, Wilson, Iredell, and the rest: “You were right, I’m afraid—Bill of Rights sunk the Enumerated Powers Doctrine. No backsies.”