We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government

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We are the party of the Constitution, the solemn compact which confirms our God-given individual rights and assures that all Americans stand equal before the law. Perhaps the greatest political document ever written, it defines the purposes and limits of government and is the blueprint for ordered liberty that makes the U.S. the world’s freest, most stable, and most prosperous nation. Its Constitutional ideals have been emulated around the world, and with them has come unprecedented prosperity for billions of people.

In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral. We will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes and ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance. We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education, or corporate boardrooms. In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.

The Republican Party includes Americans from every faith and tradition, and our policies and positions respect the right of every American to follow his or her beliefs and underscore our reverence for the religious freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our nation and of our party. As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.

A Restoration of Constitutional Order: Congress and the Executive  (Top)

We salute Republican Members of the House of Representatives for enshrining in the Rules of the House the requirement that every bill must cite the provision of the Constitution which permits its introduction. Their adherence to the Constitution stands in stark contrast to the antipathy toward the Constitution demonstrated by the current Administration and its Senate allies by appointing “czars” to evade the confirmation process, making unlawful “recess” appointments when the Senate is not in recess, using executive orders to bypass the separation of powers and its checks and balances, encouraging illegal actions by regulatory agencies from the NLRB to the EPA, openly and notoriously displaying contempt for Congress, the Judiciary, and the Constitutional prerogatives of the individual States, refusing to defend the nation’s laws in federal courts or enforce them on the streets, ignoring the legal requirement for legislative enactment of an annual budget, gutting welfare reform by unilaterally removing its statutory work requirement, buying senatorial votes with special favors, and evading the legal requirement for congressional consultation regarding troop commitments overseas. A Republican President and Republican Senate will join House Republicans in living by the rule of law, the foundation of the American Republic.

Protecting America is the first and most important duty of our federal government. The Constitution wisely distributes important roles in the area of national security to both the President and Congress. It empowers the President to serve as Commander in Chief, making him the lead instrument of the American people in matters of national security and foreign affairs. It also bestows authority on Congress, including the powers to declare war, regulate commerce, and authorize the funds needed to keep and protect our Nation. The United States of America is strongest when the President and Congress work closely together – in war and in peace – to advance our common interests and ideals. By uniting our government and our citizens, our foreign policy will secure freedom, keep America safe, and ensure that we remain the “last best hope on Earth.”

Defending Marriage Against An Activist Judiciary  (Top)

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.

A Sacred Contract: Defense of Marriage  (Top)

That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. The current Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle – in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts – makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.

Living Within Our Means: A Constitutional Budget  (Top)

Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to reform the budget process to make it more transparent and accountable, in particular by voting for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, following the lead of 33 States which have put that restraint into their own constitutions. We call for a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase with exceptions for only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.

Federalism and The Tenth Amendment  (Top)

We support the review and examination of all federal agencies to eliminate wasteful spending, operational inefficiencies, or abuse of power to determine whether they are performing functions that are better performed by the States. These functions, as appropriate, should be returned to the States in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We affirm that all legislation, rules, and regulations must conform and public servants must adhere to the U.S. Constitution, as originally intended by the Framers. Whether such legislation is a State or federal matter must be determined in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, in conjunction with Article I, Section 8. When the Constitution is evaded, transgressed, or ignored, so are the freedoms it guarantees. In that context, the elections of 2012 will be much more than a contest between parties. They are a referendum on the future of liberty in America.

The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self-government. In establishing a federal system of government, the Framers viewed the States as laboratories of democracy and centers of innovation, as do we. To maintain the integrity of their system, they bequeathed to successive generations an instrument by which we might correct any misalignment of power between our States and the federal government, the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In fidelity to that principle, we condemn the current Administration’s continued assaults on State governments in matters ranging from voter ID laws to immigration, from healthcare programs to land use decisions. Our States are the laboratories of democracy from which the people propel our nation forward, solving local and State problems through local and State innovations. We pledge to restore the proper balance between the federal government and the governments closest to, and most reflective of, the American people. Scores of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants with mandates attached. We propose wherever feasible to leave resources where they originate: in the homes and neighborhoods of the taxpayers. We call on the federal government to do a systematic analysis of laws and regulations to eliminate costly bureaucratic mandates on the States and the people. With every right comes a responsibility. A few States and their political subdivisions are currently in dire fiscal situations, largely because of their spending, debt, and failure to rein in public employee unions. In the event those conditions worsen, the federal government must not assume the State governments’ or their political subdivisions’ financial responsibility or require the nation’s taxpayers to pay for the misrule of a few State governments. Nor shall the States assume the federal government’s financial responsibility.

The Continuing Importance of Protecting the Electoral College  (Top)

We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. We recognize that an unconstitutional effort to impose “national popular vote” would be a mortal threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the presidency.

Voter Integrity to Ensure Honest Elections  (Top)

Honest elections are the foundation of representative government. We support State efforts to ensure ballot access for the elderly, the handicapped, military personnel, and all authorized voters. For the same reason, we applaud legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud, particularly with regard to registration and absentee ballots. We support State laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration to protect our electoral system against a significant and growing form of voter fraud. Every time that a fraudulent vote is cast, it effectively cancels out a vote of a legitimate voter.

Voter fraud is political poison. It strikes at the heart of representative government. We call on every citizen, elected official, and member of the judiciary to preserve the integrity of the vote. We call for vigorous prosecution of voter fraud at the State and federal level. To do less disenfranchises present and future generations. We recognize that having a physical verification of the vote is the best way to ensure a fair election. “Let ambition counter ambition,” as James Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly support the policy that all electronic voting systems have a voter verified paper audit trail.

States or political subdivisions that use all-mail elections cannot ensure the integrity of the ballot. When ballots are mailed to every registered voter, ballots can be stolen or fraudulently voted by unauthorized individuals because the system does not have a way to verify the identity of the voter. We call for States and political subdivisions to adopt voting systems that can verify the identity of the voter.

Military men and women must not be disenfranchised from the very freedom they defend. We affirm that our troops, wherever stationed, be allowed to vote and those votes be counted in the November election and in all elections. To that end, the entire chain of command, from President and the Secretary of Defense, to base and unit commanders – must ensure the timely receipt and return of all ballots and the utilization of electronic delivery of ballots where allowed by State law.

We support changing the way that the decennial census is conducted, so that citizens are distinguished from lawfully present aliens and illegal aliens. In order to preserve the principle of one-person, one-vote, the apportionment of representatives among the States should be according to the number of citizens.

The First Amendment: The Foresight of Our Founders to Protect Religious Freedom  (Top)

The first provision of the First Amendment concerns freedom of religion. That guarantee reflected Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which declared that no one should “suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion….” That assurance has never been more needed than it is today, as liberal elites try to drive religious beliefs – and religious believers – out of the public square. The Founders of the American Republic universally agree that democracy presupposes a moral people and that, in the words of George Washington’s Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration’s attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion. This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration’s audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment – an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC decision. We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedom in the public square. We assert every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices. We oppose government discrimination against businesses due to religious views. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault and condemn the State blacklisting of religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

The First Amendment: Speech that is Protected  (Top)

The rights of citizenship do not stop at the ballot box. They include the free speech right to devote one’s resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right to enter the political fray or limit their commitment to their ideals. As a result, we support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain- Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. We insist that there should be no regulation of political speech on the Internet. By the same token, we oppose governmental censorship of speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine or by government enforcement of speech codes, free speech zones, or other forms of “political correctness” on campus.

The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms  (Top)

We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban. We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as “Fast and Furious,” conducted by the Department of Justice, which resulted in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and others on both sides of the border. We applaud the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in holding the current Administration’s Attorney General in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with their investigation into that debacle. We oppose the improper collection of firearms sales information in the four southern border states, which was imposed without congressional authority.

The Fourth Amendment: Liberty and Privacy  (Top)

Affirming “the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we support pending legislation to prevent unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders. All security measures and police actions should be viewed through the lens of the Fourth Amendment; for if we trade liberty for security, we shall have neither.

The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property  (Top)

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment- “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”-is a bulwark against tyranny; for without property rights, individual rights are diminished. That is why we deplore the Supreme Court’s Kelo v. New London decision, allowing local governments to seize a person’s home or land, not for vital public use, but for transfer to private developers. We call on State legislatures to moot the impact of the Kelo decision in their States by appropriate legislation or constitutional amendments. Equally important, we pledge to enforce the Takings Clause in the actions of federal agencies to ensure just compensation whenever private property is needed to achieve a compelling public use. This includes the taking of property in the form of water rights in the West and elsewhere and the taking of property by environmental regulations that destroy its value.

The Ninth Amendment: Affirming the People’s Rights  (Top)

This speaks most eloquently for itself: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This provision codifies the concept that our government derives its power from the people and all powers not delegated to the government are retained by the people. This is an essential feature of our governmental system, and we therefore celebrate the grassroots rediscovery of this and other constitutional guarantees over the last four years and welcome to our ranks all our fellow citizens who are determined to reclaim the rights of the people that have been ignored or violated by government.

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life  (Top)

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Respect for Our Flag: Symbol of the Constitution  (Top)

The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge. We condemn the actions of those who deny our children the means by which to show respect for our great country and the constitutional principles represented by our flag.

American Sovereignty in U.S. Courts  (Top)

Subjecting American citizens to foreign laws is inimical to the spirit of the Constitution. It is one reason we oppose U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court. There must be no use of foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws. Nor should foreign sources of law be used in State courts’ adjudication of criminal or civil matters.

The Lacey Act of 1900, designed to protect endangered wildlife in interstate commerce, is now applied worldwide, making it a crime to use, in our domestic industries, any product illegally obtained in the country of origin, whether or not the user had anything to do with its harvesting. This unreasonable extension of the Act not only hurts American businesses and American jobs, but also subordinates our own rule of law to the legal codes of 195 other governments. It must be changed.

Just as George Washington wisely warned America to avoid foreign entanglements and enter into only temporary alliances, we oppose the adoption or ratification of international treaties that weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty.