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How Do We Fight Against Federal Overreach? Interposition.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Interposition as,

The doctrine that a state, in the exercise of its sovereignty, may reject a mandate of the federal government deemed to be unconstitutional or to exceed the powers delegated to the federal government” 

This sounds foreign to most of us as we’ve been conditioned to believe that federal law trumps all.  Clearly, the first generation of Americans asserted the fact that the people retain all rights and the federal government has limited powers, in the Ninth and 10th Amendments:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

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 the people.

The Constitution has been impotent in restraining government and protecting the rights of the People.  When the federal overreach occurs, it is the duty of state government to interpose.

One of the most famous examples is Sheriff Richard Mack’s lawsuit against the federal government after the Brady Act was passed.  Sheriff Mack of Graham County Arizona, refused to enforce the unconstitutional provisions of the Act and was forced to sue the federal government – he won.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Sheriff Richard Mack’s complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief is GRANTED IN PART. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter a judgment declaring 18 U.S.C. section 922(s)(2) to be unconstitutional. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant United States of America and its agents are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from further enforcing 18 U.S.C. section 922(s)(2).

The natural right to self defense is hardly the only one under attack by the federal government.  Countless federal agencies trespass on private property on a daily basis.  Some sheriffs uphold their oaths by rightly arresting or threatening to arrest federal agents, enforcing unconstitutional regulations or “laws”, when they attempt to “inspect” property.  When the U.S. Justice Department threatened to trespass on a farm, Sheriff Brad Rogers of Elkhart County, Indiana, correctly threatened to arrest any federal agent who attempted to “inspect” a farm without probable cause and a warrant.  Sheriff Rogers stated, with regard to federal law being supreme,

That is a distortion of the intent, content and extent of the supreme law of the land — the U.S. Constitution — seen through a myopic and misunderstood view of Article VI, section 2 (The Supremacy Clause).

Sheriff Rogers is still in office.

When Virginia was told it needed to implement a, “rain tax”, Attorney General Cuccinelli argued on behalf of Fairfax County and the State of Virginia that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no power to enforce its mandate on Virginia.  Virginia won.  The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors put aside their “partisan differences” to join forces for the lawsuit.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said it was difficult for her majority-Democrat board to sign onto a lawsuit against the EPA with arch-conservative Cuccinelli. “I know a lot people were scratching their heads over that”

Attorney General Cuccinelli is still in office.

What can you do?

As we see, states are not powerless against federal government overreach.  We can fight back.

We must take it upon ourselves to educate our elected representatives about interposition because so few are aware of the term.  Please write/call/visit your representatives at the state level and show them how they may successfully interpose against federal overreach.


Sample legislation, at the State level, to interpose, linked below (courtesy of the Tenth Amendment Center).  You can send these to your state representatives and ask them to introduce these bills

Elizabeth Myers

Elizabeth Myers is a grassroots activist, certified Constitutionist (US and Maryland Constitutions, Institute on the Constitution), and fed up Marylander. Maryland Legislative Watch was started out of this frustration and the goal is to alert fellow Marylanders to bad (and a few good) bills that normally pass under the radar. Any writing on Watchdog Wire is my opinion only.

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