We believe that the Constitution provides a degree of protection for states’ rights. That degree of protection is far less than it once was, in part, because the right was abused to shield despicable behavior during the Jim Crow era. We believe that the federal system, despite prior abuses, has significant benefits. We oppose undermining that system with unfunded federal mandates.
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Unfortunately, the defense of states’ rights has been used in the past as a vehicle to shield reprehensible behavior in the form of racial segregation. But despite this history, the concept of leaving to the states the right to deal with most questions of day-to-day life, a concept protected in the Constitution, is a good one.
We view the creation of federally mandated, but unfunded, obligations to be the greatest current assault on states’ rights. We believe that the principle handed down by John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland that “the power to tax is the power to destroy,” ought to also ban such unfunded mandates. We oppose federal laws that impose significant financial burdens on the states without federal financial support.