Welcome to Journey to the Center of the Constitution. In our inaugural episode, we are going to delve into one of President Obama’s newest policy proposals, “free” community college, as long as you maintain at least a C+ average, and attend at least part-time.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) January 12, 2015
It has since come out that #FreeCommunityCollege isn’t your typical definition of free. According to a quick Google search, the typical definition of free is “without cost or payment.” President Obama’s definition of free is $80 billion.
This major issue aside, this column deals with the constitutionality of the program, as the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater once said, “I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.” It is in this vein that this article is written.
The first step in my research was to consult my handy-dandy pocket version of our Constitution. Now, when I did not stumble upon the education section, I thought they might not have been able to fit all of our imaginary rights into the pocket version. Maybe my 2010 printing was out of date. So I did what any millennial would do, I took to the internet.
The National Archives has the entire up to date Constitution. Using the splendors of technology (ctrl + F), I went into my next step. I have documented this journey.
I first searched for the education section:
Uh-oh. Not off to a great start. Maybe the Founding Fathers were more specific when dealing out our constitutional right to heavily subsidized community college. Let’s just try “college.”
Oh jeez. I’m starting to think this might not be Constitutional. Okay, last shot, let’s try “university.” Maybe they called everything a university back then. Worth a shot, right?
I’m not finding any constitutional justification for a program of this magnitude. Perhaps I’m overlooking something? If you find an error in my research please reach out to me on Twitter, @mullrainee.