The Constitutionally Limited Jurisdiction of the FCC

"In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
- Thomas Jefferson

The Federal Communications Commission was created by Congress with passage of the Communications Act of 1934.  The Commission continues to operate under the act, as amended.  In Section 1, under the heading Purposes of Act, is written, "For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio ...".

The wording of the phrase insures that it will conform with the Constitution for the United States, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.   The Act makes no reference to the regulation of either intrastate commerce in communications or private communications.  The Constitution does not authorize the Federal government to regulate such activity within individual states of the Union.

The geographical territory claimed by the FCC was plainly constitutional until 1982.  With passage of the Communications Act of 1982, the 1934 Act was amended such that the territory now claimed may no longer be constitutional.  This occurred when the FCC suddenly demanded the right, after 48 years, to require licensing of communications that are confined entirely within one "state".

But the federal government has never possessed authority to regulate intrastate activity.  Is it possible, even likely, that the definition of "state," as used in the original Act, did not refer to the 50 Union states?  If so, the Communications Act of 1982 is not unconstitutional on its face.  Rather, through the cunning of high-level lawmakers and the ignorance of low-level bureaucrats, the Act is misapplied.

The United States Code

The United States Code is commonly used as authority when the FCC or its courts seek to exercise power.  Specifically, Title 47 of the US Code, "Telegraphs, Telephones, and Radiotelegraphs," is cited.

Within Chapter 5, "Wire or Radio Communication," we find the licensing statute, 47 USC Sec. 301.  As with any statute, Section 301 has limited applicability.   We need not be concerned with FCC licensing if Section 301 does not apply to our particular activity.

We can determine the limited geographical area of applicability of Chapter 5 by referring to Subchapter I Section 152, which says, "The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all interstate and foreign communication...".

Next, we must determine the definition of the word "state," as used in Chapter 5.  We may do this by referring to Subchapter I, Sec. 153(40) where it says,"The term 'State' includes the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions".  The identical wording is used for the definition of "state" in the Communications Act of 1934.   It would be a mistake to expand what is being said by mentally adding the 50 states of the Union.

Common Law Maxims:

The inclusion of one is the exclusion of another.  The certain designation of one person is an absolute exclusion of all others.  11 Coke, 58b.

"expressio unius est exclusio alterius" - A maxim of statutory interpretation meaning the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another.   Blacks Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition

Consistency - a fundamental principle of law 

When a Title within the United States Code applies to the 50 states such intent is unambiguous.  For example, in the Internal Revenue Code, we find the following:

26 USC Sec. 6103(b)(5) - State:

The term "State" means - (A) any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

26 USC Sec. 4612(a)(4)(A) In general:

The term ''United States'' means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Skeptics can be further satisfied by bringing to their attention the definition of the word "include," as used in the above mentioned Sec. 153(40).

From Black's Law Dictionary:

Include. (Lat. inclaudere, to shut in, to keep within.) To confine within, hold as in an enclosure, take in, attain, shut up, contain, inclose, comprise, comprehend, embrace, involve.  Term may, according to context, express an enlargement and have the meaning of and or in addition to, or merely specify a particular thing already included within general words theretofore used. "Including" within statute is interpreted as a word of enlargement or of illustrative application as well as a word of limitation.

With respect to Subchapter I, Sec. 153(40), the legal definition of "state" expresses no contextual language that suggests an enlargement is contemplated.

Conclusion:  By using comparative analysis between Titles within the Code while considering the legal definition of "state," it becomes clear that the licensing statute applies only to the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions, which is exquisitely constitutional.  For those not situated in a federal area, this is strong legal grounds for license-free broadcasting.

Private broadcasting - an additional remedy

The courts take silent judicial notice that all radio communication is commercial in nature.  The radio operator has the burden of proof to show otherwise.  When our precious metal backed Dollars ($) were replaced with the commercial debt backed Federal Reserve Notes ($) it meant all activity conducted by means of FRNs, even private activity, became classified as commercial in nature, under color of law.

The FCC's jurisdictional statement makes no claim of regulating private communications.  The solution is to purchase all radio equipment with gold or silver coin, while securing proper receipts.  The power company will likely not accept constitutional money.  It will be necessary to generate your own electrical power.  Any profit from the station must be paid in gold or silver coin.  Those actions remove you from the commercial venue.

Punishment for radio broadcasting lacks constitutionality

Another area where federal power is exercised without traceable authority is punishment.  The Constitution is most clear on the subject of punishment available to the Federal government.  It is limited to only three types: counterfeiting, treason, and offenses against the laws of nations.   The FCC is constitutionally authorized to regulate interstate and foreign commerce in communications but not to punish someone for simply carrying out unauthorized communications.


All authority must be traceable to the Constitution for the United States of America.  There is a huge difference between the meaning and exercise of power and the meaning and exercise of authority.

For almost a half-century the FCC's licensing provisions plainly did not apply to radio communications confined to a single state.  Suddenly, in 1982, the U.S. Congress apparently gave the FCC power to license and regulate radio transmissions that are confined entirely within the legal boundaries of a single state.  But did Congress ever originally intend to include the Union states within the meaning of "state"?

In both the original communications act and the codified version of the law, the 50 Union states are not included in the definition of "state," which is constitutionally correct.  Successful prosecution for non-licensed broadcasting within one of the 50 states is a result of ignorance and/or contempt for the law.

It is a constitutionally correct strategy to avoid the FCC's jurisdiction altogether by avoiding the use of commercial debt paper (Federal Reserve Notes).  The FCC has jurisdiction over "...commerce in communication..." only.

Another area in which the FCC successfully exercises power without any authority is punishment.  The Constitution authorizes the Federal government to punish for counterfeiting, treason, and offenses against the laws of nations, only.


There exists a criminal element at the highest levels of government in the United States.  Adhering to constitutionally correct principles will not insure the full force of government won't be used in an attempt to destroy you.  Criminals in government generally use the courts to carry out their vendettas against free-thinking individuals.  Government courts will boldly evade the simplest constitutional principle if failure to do so would endanger a successful prosecution.  Although they can tell you the latest ball scores, most Americans sitting on a jury do not recognize constitutionally correct principles.  They will side with the government.  It is advisable to take whatever steps necessary to stay out of the courts.


Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.
- Bertrand Russell, British philosopher and mathematician, 1872-1970