Our Constitution is the cornerstone of our Republic and is the greatest governing document in history. At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, one of our greatest founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was asked what kind of Government the Constitution gave us, “a Republic or a Monarchy?” “A Republic,” Franklin replied, “If you can keep it.” How true Franklin’s words were and how prophetic they have proven to be.
As your Congressman, it is my duty to support and defend the Constitution and to protect our Republic. When I took office, I took the following oath:
“I, Paul Gosar, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God”
I took that oath as a solemn vow to the American people that I would honor the Constitution of the United States, and I strive every day to uphold my promise.
Increasingly, our constitutional liberties have been under attack from progressives who view the Constitution as a “living document.” While I believe that the application of our laws must adapt as society changes and modernizes, I do not believe that the fundamental freedoms promised to us in the Constitution should ever be abandoned. We have a process to amend the Constitution, and that process is intentionally difficult. The Founders labored to come up with our original Constitution and rightly believed that future sessions of Congress should solemnly reflect when seeking to amend it. For this reason, they set the bar extremely high for a constitutional amendment to pass. As such, the document has only been amended 27 times in our nation’s history.
“I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.”—Sen. Barry Goldwater.
First and foremost, I consult our Constitution. I believe our Constitution is a sacred charter that, along with strong biblical values, made our nation great. I ask, "does the Constitution allow this? Or, does the Constitution prohibit this." My office has been singled out for going "above and beyond" the call of duty when discussing the constitutional basis for my bills.
I believe in an originalist interpretation of the text of the Constitution, and I believe that courts have placed an improper emphasis on the precedents of prior Courts instead of basing their judgments on the text of the Constitution. Courts sometimes get cases dreadfully wrong and create law from the bench, as the Supreme Court did in Dred Scott v. Sandford and Roe v. Wade. It is the responsibility of the Court to interpret the Constitution rather than to rely on wrongly decided cases as settled law.
As part of this originalist interpretation, I believe that we should maintain a proper separation of powers among the three branches of our federal government. Our Founders wisely included a system of checks and balances in our Constitution to prevent any branch of government from becoming too powerful. Our first president, George Washington, actually feared a return to British-style monarchical rule so much that he refused to run for a third term. He understood well that the separation of powers would be a safeguard against tyranny. Since the days of Washington, presidents have greatly expanded the powers of the executive branch through the use of executive orders, and the Supreme Court has usurped many of the lawmaking functions of Congress.
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.
I am a firm believer that if the Constitution does not explicitly delegate powers to the federal government, the issues should be reserved to the states. In most cases, state and local governments are much more equipped to deal with these issues. I will seek to ensure that our federal government remains a limited government by honoring the text of the Tenth Amendment. As your Congressman, I will fight to reclaim the lawmaking responsibility of the legislative branch and ensure that the proper separation of powers is maintained.
Protecting Local Zoning and Property Rights
President Obama’s AFFH regulation marked his most aggressive attempt to force his utopian ideology on American communities disguised under the banner of ‘fairness’. This new regulation wasn’t about fair housing, as housing discrimination based on race has been illegal for more than 40 years. American citizens should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to big government neighborhood engineering. Local zoning decisions have traditionally been, and should always be, made by local communities, not bureaucrats in Washington DC. The House of Representatives voted twice to defund the AFFH rule by passing my amendments during consideration of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bills. More information on those votes can be found HERE and HERE. I also introduced the Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act to prohibit this new regulation.
Ending Operation Choke Point
I cosponsored the Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act and the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. Each measure defended the Second Amendment and sought to make conducting or facilitating Operation Choke Point illegal. Operation Choke Point was an unconstitutional program created by the Obama Administration that put pressure on banks and payment processors to shut down industries that President Obama and the Attorney General didn’t like. In 2016, the full House of Representatives passed H.R. 766 and my commonsense amendment that improved this worthwhile legislation and increased transparency by requiring that financial institutions provide notice to customers if their account is ordered to be terminated by federal banking regulators. Click HERE to read more.
The First Amendment Defense Act
I was an original cosponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act. This commonsense legislation sought to protect religious freedom for hard-working Americans and businesses by preventing discrimination by the federal government. Specifically, this bill would have ensured that the federal government cannot revoke a nonprofit entity’s tax-exempt status or prevent individuals and organizations from receiving a federal contract, grant or employment based on their fundamental beliefs.
Fighting Obama's Unconstitutional Gun Grabs
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration took unprecedented steps to bypass Congress and infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. His far-left proposals have been resoundingly debunked as foolish and would not have stopped any of the major shootings that took place during his tenure. Gun violence is committed by criminals; yet the focus of his executive order was on restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens. Whether it is blind ignorance or intentional deceit, President Obama’s actions sabotaged the safety of countless Americans in order to score political points with the far-left.
The Obama Administration was relentless in their pursuit of taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. Republicans and Democrats, along with the American people, blocked President Obama's gun control proposals three different times. I have and will continue to actively fight any attempt by the federal government to undermine our Constitution and infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I passed an amendment through the House reversing the ATF ban on 7N6 ammunition, therefore restoring Second Amendment rights and preserving access to affordable ammunition for sporting purposes. There is no easy answer to the problem of violence we face in our country, but inhibiting the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights is nothing more than window dressing. When you limit an individual’s ability to lawfully purchase or carry firearms you are allowing only those with the intent to break the law to have weapons. Click HERE to read more.
The Separation of Powers Act
Several of my colleagues and I introduced the Separation of Powers Act. This commonsense legislation blocked all unconstitutional gun grabs and executive actions that infringe on the Second Amendment. This House passed this legislation in 2016.
Article I Consolidated Appropriations Amendments Act
I cosponsored the Article I Consolidated Appropriations Amendments Act, legislation that utilized the power of the purse to block several unconstitutional Obama Administration policies. This bill defunded executive amnesty policies, blocked the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule, prohibited funds for sanctuary cities, and defunded several other unconstitutional regulations.
Prohibiting Funds for an Unconstitutional Roadside Survey
I passed numerous legislative initiatives into law to prohibit funds for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s unconstitutional National Roadside Survey. This program was not only wasteful and ineffective, but it was an infringement on our Constitutional rights to privacy and the 4th Amendment civil liberties of American Citizens. The implementation of the survey used uniformed police officers to stop drivers and allow researchers to collect a passive alcohol sensor reading before the driver agreed to participate in the survey. Previous surveys have squandered almost $8 million dollars of taxpayer money and done nothing to make our communities safer. CLICK HERE to read more.
Preventing the NSA from Spying on U.S. Citizens
I previously voted for an amendment that passed the House that would prevent the collection of U.S. citizens’ metadata by the National Security Agency (NSA). While some in Congress desperately want to continue the NSA’s domestic spying, I vigorously defended the Fourth Amendment by voting to restrict the NSA’s ability to use taxpayer money to spy on American citizens. I am also a member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus which was founded "to protect the privacy and security of Americans in the digital age." CLICK HERE to read more.
Blocking the EPA's Harmful WOTUS Regulation
The Obama Administration's Waters of the U.S. regulation (WOTUS) was a job-killing, overreaching water grab being imposed by Washington bureaucrats. This unlawful regulation was a dream killer for future generations that resulted in significant job losses and considerable harm to our economy. WOTUS contradicted prior Supreme Court decisions by expanding agency control over 60% of our country’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands that were previously non-jurisdictional. I fought this overreach from the beginning. In May 2014, I sent a letter calling for WOTUS to be withdrawn. I held a hearing in Phoenix in June 2014 where we heard testimony from 9 Arizona witnesses. I introduced legislation, inserted funding riders into appropriations bills, blocked a democrat amendment that tried to strip one of my WOTUS riders and voted at least five different times for legislation that has passed the House to block WOTUS. In July 2015, I berated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and submitted revelatory evidence into the Congressional Record from senior Army Corps of Engineer employees which expressed serious legal and scientific deficiencies with the final draft of the WOTUS rule. In January 2016, the House and Senate passed legislation blocking WOTUS utilizing the Congressional Review Act and put a bill on President Obama's desk that he vetoed. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Constitution Does Not Permit the Federal Government to Detain American Citizens Indefinitely Without Charge or Trial
When the Senate snuck a provision into a bill that would strip the rights of due process for American citizens, I stood in strong opposition. I firmly believe federal government’s constitutional duty to provide for the common defense is not mutually exclusive to upholding civil rights granted to American citizens via the U.S. Bill of Rights. Section 1021 of H.R. 1540 authorized President Obama to detain people in definitely and did not distinguish between American citizens and non-citizens, or between persons caught domestically and abroad. This language was vague and not drafted well and could be interpreted to suggest that American citizens could be detained indefinitely and not afforded the same rights as an American that had committed any other crime.CLICK HERE to read more.
The Water Rights Protection Act
The Water Rights Protection Act seeks to prevent the federal government from taking privately held water rights without just compensation. This would protect a variety of water users including rural communities, businesses, recreation opportunities, farmers and ranchers as well as other individuals that rely on privately held water rights for their livelihood. It does so by prohibiting federal agencies from extorting water rights through the use of permits, leases, and other land management arrangements, for which it would otherwise have to pay just compensation under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. I played an active role in assisting my good friend and colleague Scott Tipton in passing this legislation through the House, through the Resources Committee and Water and Power Subcommittee. This legislation is necessary as the Forest Service and BLM have been aggressively pursuing such takings for several years now.