Role of the U.S. Constitution

Essay by arualUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2009

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The United States Constitution, also known as the supreme law of the land, was established in 1788. The U.S. Constitution defines and outlines the powers of the three branches of the federal government: legislative, executive, and judicial; and "protects individual rights by limiting the government's ability to restrict those rights" (Cheeseman, 2007, p. 49). Although intended to protect the individuals' rights, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments have also be applicable to businesses. The U.S. Constitution and the United States legal system has become an important combination in business regulation. In protecting the rights, the legislative and executive branches of federal government have been empowered to establish administrative agencies to regulate and enforce statutes enacted by Congress. One such agency under the Department of Labor is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (, n.d., para. 2,) which recognizes and protects the rights of employees to work in safe and healthy environments.

Constitutional Rights Affecting BusinessUnder the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Congress is given the power to regulate interstate commerce and the activities that affect it (Cheeseman, 2007). On December 29, 1970, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, also known as the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSH Act, in response to the Congressional findings (United States Department of Labor, n.d.) that:1.Personal injuries and illnesses arising out of work situations impose a substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to, interstate commerce in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments (para 4).

2. Congress declares it to be its purpose and policy, through the exercise of its powers to regulate commerce among the several States and with foreign nations and to provide for the general welfare, to assure so far...