The constitution, therefore, confers powers in general on the various agencies of government and leaves the details to be filled in by statutes enacted by the legislative assemblies in order to complete the framework of government. Article II of the United States Constitution assumes administrative departments, but it says almost nothing about them.
The elaborate organization of the federal administration has been established by statutes, with federal departments created, reorganized, or given new functions by Congress. Similarly, Article III of the Constitution states only that there shall be one Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 laid the foundation of the American judicial system, fixed the number of judges of the Supreme Court and their salaries, provided for the Court’s organization, and set forth its jurisdiction.
This Act has been amended from time to time. Several times Congress has passed laws changing the number of Justices of the Supreme Court. Still more, nowhere does the Constitution prescribe the precise way in which minor officers of the government are to be selected. Congress enacted a civil service law providing for their appointment by competitive examinations.
After enumerating various powers of Congress, the Constitution concludes with a sort of general grant empowering Congress to make all laws which it may deem necessary and proper for carrying into execution the jurisdiction assigned to it.
This is sometimes called “the elastic clause” and many matters that Congress might not otherwise feel authorized to deal with have been covered under this provision.
In the same way, by broadly interpreting the Constitution, Congress has established a huge defence establishment, created scores of administrative boards and bureaus, entered into the business of education, banking, insurance, etc., and found authority to regulate the economic and social life of a highly industrialized nation.