Implied powers

Implied powers are political powers that are not explicitly listed in a constitution but can be inferred from other powers. Their existence may be, but need not be, specifically referred to in a constitution. For example, the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 grants to Congress the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” By contrast, although the U.S. Constitution does not assign the president the authority to fire civil servants, the president may in fact have the implied power to do so. (For more on this subject, see our short course on the presidency.)

Related topics include enumerated powers and reserved powers.

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