“The nobles at Runnymede demonstrated the ‘doctrine of the lesser magistrates’ by interposing against the tyranny of King John in 1215 AD which resulted in the signing of the Magna Carta.” - The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, Matthew J. Trewhella
The Power of Interposition: Safeguarding Liberty and Justice
Though rarely articulated today, the word “interposition” carries deep significance. Webster 1828 Dictionary defines interposition as “to put something in between or among things; to insert or intrude, like an obstacle, interruption”.
The power of interposition lies in its role of preserving the constitutional order and ensuring that our rights are protected. When higher civil officials enact laws or policies that contradict the moral, constitutional, or legal foundations of our society, a significant duty falls upon the shoulders of lower-ranking civil officials. These officials, or “lesser magistrates,” who have taken an oath to defend the constitution, place themselves as protectors of the rule of law. They stand between the “tyrant”, represented by unjust laws, and the people, ensuring that the rights and values we hold dear are protected. This concept of interposition empowers both states and cities with the legitimate authority to resist encroachments by higher authorities on their governing powers and hold them accountable.
A recent example of interposition emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Various states and local governments across the United States took different approaches to pandemic-related restrictions and regulations. Some state and local officials, understanding the unique needs of their communities, pushed back against federal and state-level directives. They emphasized their authority to make decisions in the best interest of their citizens.
The concept of interposition holds the potential to maintain a balanced and decentralized government, particularly when courageous legislators boldly oppose overreach. This echoes the wisdom of American Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who stressed the importance of constraining the central government’s authority while protecting the rights of states and local governments.
The Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution plays a pivotal role in ensuring the federal government’s powers are kept in check. It serves as a check and balance on those powers, reminding both states and the people of their duty to resist actions taken by the federal government that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution.
As members of the Utah County Republican Party, we can learn that interposition isn’t just a relic of history; it’s an indispensable pillar of our governmental framework. It serves as a potent instrument for defending our rights and freedoms, upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Interposition stands as a resolute force that reinforces the principle that our leaders are accountable to the people and the constitutional rule of law.
Therefore, interposition issues a rallying cry for those dedicated to preserving the bedrock principles of liberty and justice. In the face of government overreach, interposition acts as the clarion call, ensuring that our hard-won freedoms are nurtured and protected. It serves as a constant reminder that in our system, the voice of the people holds weight, and the supremacy of the legal rights and prohibitions of the U.S. constitution must always prevail.