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I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution.

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Justin Amash (File Photo)

Rep. Justin Amash, a freshman Republican from Michigan, is setting a new standard for representatives in Congress: sticking to principles and upholding the Constitution, no matter how unpopular it might make him with seasoned politicians in Washington.

In a New York Times profile piece, Amash explains his voting record in which he has bucked his majority leadership 25% of the time -- the most of any House Republican:

Often, when Mr. Amash agrees with the spirit of a measure, but not its constitutional basis, he votes “present,” as he did on a bill to take money from public broadcasting. If baffled colleagues seek an explanation, they can find it on his Facebook page, where he assiduously explains every vote.

“I follow a set of principles, I follow the constitution,” said Mr. Amash, who keeps a picture of the seating chart for his Constitutional law class from the University of Michigan on his office wall. “And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”

He said he did not feel his defections had angered Republicans leaders in the House.

“I don’t think they’ve been annoyed by the votes,” he said during a brief interview as he walked through Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “I think they respect my approach, and I respect theirs as well.” ...

[H]ere in the 112th Congress, Mr. Amash says most of his no or “present” votes generally reflect his lack of constitutional convictions about a bill, or the fact there was not time to read it. Some of the constitutional violations in the bills favored by his party mates “are pretty apparent,” he said. “We review each piece of legislation very carefully,” he said.

For the record, Rep. Amash voted against today's budget compromise deal, joining other conservative members of his caucus such as Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

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