Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interposition Doctrine- The Rebirth of States Rights

Interposition, in the context of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, refers to an asserted right of U.S. states to protect their individual interests from federal violation or any abridgement of states' rights deemed by those states to be dangerous or unconstitutional. In the words of the Virginia Resolution of 1798,

That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

By this statement, Madison asserts that state bodies are "duty bound to interpose" or stand between federal encroachment on the rights of a sovereign state. The procedural legal details of how this interposition is enacted is not explicit. The Virginia Resolution thus provides what is sometimes considered to be the more tempered Madisonian view to Jefferson's Kentucky Resolution that calls for nullification of federal laws. It is often used in conjunction with nullification, which is said by its advocates to give states the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that the state has deemed unconstitutional.

Debra Medina, Republican, is running for Governor of Texas. When asked about how she might help preserve 10th Amendment powers of the State, she mentioned potential use of the Interposition Doctrine. This is a fascinating prospect. Perhaps Texas, under her able leadership can lead the way in showing other States how to nullify the craziness of the Congress and the Supreme Court. States need to reassert their powers, and something more drastic has to be done. Washington is not listening to us, and the Interposition Doctrine is a tool that can potentially be used to dial back the Washington DC power grab.

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