GOP platform proposes Tenth Amendment test for all federal spending


All federal spending should be reviewed to ensure powers reserved for the states are not given to the federal government, according to the GOP platform approved Tuesday. 

The platform language is meant to ensure all federal spending meets the requirements of the 10th amendment, which prohibits state powers from being given to the feds.

"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," the platform reads. "These functions, as appropriate, should be returned to the States in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

The Tenth Amendment has taken on new importance among Republicans who are looking to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, as it potentially provides a justification for devolving some federal powers down to the states. The amendment reads: "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."

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The platform goes on to say that allowing the federal government to take on powers it was not meant to restricts individual freedom.

"When the Constitution is evaded, transgressed, or ignored, so are the freedoms it guarantees," it reads. "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."

Language on the importance of the Tenth Amendment is found in a section of the platform calling for a restoration of "constitutional government." That section includes language on defending marriage, and the need for amendments to the Constitution that cap spending at 20 percent of GDP and require a super-majority for new tax increases.

The constitutional government section also calls for a defense of the Electoral College, and warns that doing away with this method of electing the president could lead to voter fraud.

"We recognize that an unconstitutional effort to impose a '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," it says.

More broadly, it calls for the exercise of the right to speech and religion under the First Amendment, as well as rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments dealing with unreasonable government intrusion, private property and individual rights, respectively.