In more than 20 years in Congress, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has consistently and strongly advocated the Tenth Amendment. One of the most important Constitutional limits on government, the Tenth Amendment clearly limits, along with the enumeration of powers, the size and scope our federal government. In advocating these principles, few members of Congress have established such a solid record of upholding the Tenth Amendment.
In fact, Rep. Goodlatte is such a strong defender and advocate of the Tenth Amendment, that when Republicans took control of Congress after the 2014 elections and read the Constitution on the floor of the House, Goodlatte chose the Tenth Amendment as his part to read. Goodlatte has stood strong for the Tenth Amendment consistently and numerous time throughout his years of serving in Congress. As Chairman of the House Judiciary committee, he continues his strong advocacy of full application of the Tenth Amendment.
Rep. Goodlatte was recently awarded the 2015 Constitutional Champion Award for his long history of standing for the Constitution and defending the Tenth Amendment.
Goodlatte is a member of the 10th Amendment Task Force, a House group with the mission to “restore the Constitutional balance of power through liberty-enhancing federalism.”
In 2014, Goodlatte criticized federal legislation, called the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to collect sales tax on internet purchases. He claimed it would infringe on states’ rights by allowing a state’s citizens to be taxed by other states.
In November 2013, Goodlatte voted for HR 2728, which would protect states’ rights to develop their own regulations on fracking.
In September 2013, Goodlatte and the House Judiciary Committee issued a set of guiding principles to use during the consideration of an Internet sales tax, one being that states should be allowed to decide whether they impose a tax. In the list of principles he released for a “remote sales tax,” No. 6 read:
“States should be sovereign within their physical boundaries. In addition, the federal government should not mandate that States impose any sales tax compliance burdens.”
In 2011, Goodlatte voted to repeal Obamacare’s mandate for state-run health insurance exchanges. Goodlatte voted for HR 1213, which would have repealed mandatory funding provided to state to establish American Health Benefit Exchanges. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), called the healthcare exchange money “another slush fund designed to push the state into doing what the Administration wants.”
The state healthcare exchanges were opposed by the limited-government think tank the Goldwater Institute. In a 2012 article, the think tank argued that the exchanges would require states to “leave their sovereignty and the liberty of their citizens at the mercy of the federal government.”
In 2010, in an interview with the The News Virginian, Goodlatte said that he was in support of H.R. 5034, the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010, which would have allowed the sale of alcohol to be an exception to the interstate commerce clause, and said he was “a pretty strong believer in the right of states to regulate.”
In 2010, during a hearing on the 21st amendment and specifically bill H.R. 5034, Goodlatte commented in favor of the bill for “striking the right balance between the strong right of states” in regulating alcohol sales and interests of out-of-state businesses. The bill never reached a vote.
In 2006, when introducing the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 2006, Goodlatte argued the legislation would “return control to the states” as to whether they want intrastate gambling.
In 2001, Goodlatte claimed that his anti-online gambling bill, one that he introduced with Rep. James Leach of Iowa, would respect states’ rights to regulate gambling.
In 1997, when he introduced his bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1997, Goodlatte said the bill would “protect the right of citizens in each state” to decide “if they want to allow gambling within their borders.” He said:
“The legislation I am introducing today will protect the right of citizens in each State to decide through their State legislatures if they want to allow gambling within their borders and not have that right taken away by offshore, fly-by-night operator.”
In 1997, Goodlatte introduced HR 59, the National Right to Work Act of 1997, which he described as a way to “reduce federal power over the American workplace” and advocated for each state to have control over its own right-to-work laws. The bill never reached a vote.
In 1996, Goodlatte voted for the welfare reform bill, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which ended cash entitlement benefits and turned federal welfare funds over to states in block grants, giving the states control over eligibility and benefits.
In March 1995, Goodlatte voted for the conference report for S 1, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, which sought to curb unfunded mandates often imposed on states.
Rep. Goodlatte has emphasized his support for the Tenth Amendment, writing on his web site:
“I chose to read aloud the 10th Amendment to the Constitution which preserves the rights of the states and individuals. The U.S. Constitution was first read at the beginning of the 112th Congress when Republicans regained the majority.”
We should be thankful to have such principled leadership in the Congress, such as Bob Goodlatte, who solidly and strongly stands for limited government and the Tenth Amendment. Standing for limited government is one of the most important ways to defend liberty, and as champion of the Tenth Amendment, Goodlatte does an excellent service for the people of America.