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Candidate Outlines a U.S. Senator's Role in States'
Nullification of Unconstitutional Federal Edicts

March 31, 2011
In a world where most U.S. Senators think their main job is to channel "largess" -- earmarks and the like -- back to their home state, it is refreshing to see one candidate properly define the job he hopes the People hire him for.

The following is a circular letter to the leaders of the Missouri General Assembly from Ed Martin. The former chief of staff to Governor Matt Blunt and near-miss challenger to U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan makes a commitment to the states legislators - he will do his part to protect the state if the legislature has the gumption to nullify unconstitutional federal edicts. Read his letter below...

Circular Letter From Ed Martin

Honorable Steve Tilley, Speaker of the House
Honorable Robert Mayer, President Pro Tem

Missouri Capitol Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Re: Sovereignty of the people of Missouri and the duty of their United States Senator

Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. President Pro Tem,

Greetings and best wishes to you and the General Assembly as you continue its important work.

I write today with an offer: my offer to assist you and, more saliently, to protect the liberty of “We the people of Missouri.” It is obvious to me that a significant change has taken place in the relationship between the liberty of Missourians and our federal government – a change that is most unwelcome and not in the interest of Missourians or our nation. First, the federal government has far outgrown its intended boundaries. Our federal representatives are cobbling together an ever more intrusive and expensive labyrinth of regulations, laws and mandates by asserting authority never granted to them by the states. Second, our elected officials have, for too long, acquiesced to the federal overreach, either out of self-interest, disinterest, or misunderstanding. The elected officials charged with protecting the sovereignty of Missourians – namely our state elected officials as well as our United States Senators – have not been up to the task.

I believe the time has come to begin the long work to restore balance between the states and the federal government. Toward that end, I offer you my solemn pledge to fight for the liberty of “We the people of Missouri“ and to stop the over-reaching federal government in any way I can. I pledge to assist and advocate for you in your efforts as leaders of our Missouri General Assembly should I be elected as a United States Senator from Missouri in 2012.

Last week marked the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. Most Americans now recognize this federal takeover of health care as an unwelcome intrusion and a dramatic overreach by the federal government. Our own state’s clear repudiation of Obamacare, along with the election results in November, ought to have meant the end of this scheme; however, repealing Obamacare seems as remote today as it seemed the day after passage.

I believe that this circumstance calls for a remedy found within the federalist structure of the United States, specifically the assertion of the sovereignty of the State of Missouri in defense of its citizens. I join those calling for Missouri’s elected officials – including our U.S. Senators – to stand between Missouri and the federal government to stop the intrusion of our liberties and interpose on our behalf.

As a matter of general understanding, I offer these observations:

The U.S. Constitution and the sovereignty of the people of Missouri

I understand that the United States Constitution and our founders intended a very specific relationship between the federal government and the states. By ratifying the Constitution, the states were ceding to the federal government a subset of roles or powers that, under normal circumstances, would be the purview of a sovereign nation. For example, states do not go to war, mint currency, or levy tariffs on imported goods. The 10th amendment makes it clear, in any honest reading, that the states have the sovereign authority to manage their affairs for their citizens in all but a limited number of situations as clearly spelled out. That this is poorly understood is a failure in education and a willful disregard of what our nation’s founders and founding documents enacted.

Over the years, and particularly in the first half of the 20th century, the federal government began encroaching upon the states’ sovereign prerogatives, typically in pursuit of a progressive economic agenda (expansion of the Commerce Clause, e.g.). These insults to state sovereignty were great and small, and, it must be admitted, they were advanced under both Republican and Democrat leadership. Nearly every department of the President’s cabinet, for example, creates some measure of havoc at the state level either through regulation or funding offered with a rat’s nest of strings attached. These realities have brought us to this point where we the states and the people are becoming broke and hobbled.

Respective states have a right and duty to stand between the federal government and the state’s citizens in some circumstances. When the federal government – which derives its authority from the states – oversteps its boundaries, the state must interpose itself between the federal government and the people. This is not a time for choosing: interposition is a REQUIREMENT of our system of government.

This defense of the state ought to begin with each United States Senator whose task is to put to rest any encroachment upon his fellow citizens’ rights and sovereignty. That senator should work in consultation and concert with the people’s representatives at home, to keep the Feds tending to Federal tasks and leaving the states to their business. I do not think the role of a U.S. Senator is to be a “super representative” or some sort of associate President to help burden states and their citizens with new programs or regulations.

Obamacare and the Protective Assertion of Sovereignty

In light of this understanding of the relationship between the people of Missouri and the federal government, I believe it is time for significant change in how our state deals with federal encroachments.

How then do we return to a more honest understanding of the sovereign relations between the states and the federal government? Or more simply: how do we undo what has been done to us?

First, we must state, publicly and without reservation, the truth of the sovereignty of the state of Missouri as it relates to the state and federal governments. Second, we must join forces – today! – to fight off the encroachments of the federal government starting with Obamacare.

Why begin with Obamacare? First, Obamacare was so recently repudiated by the overwhelming majority of Missourians in passing proposition C. Second, it is a clear and unequivocal assault on the freedom of individual citizens of Missouri and the regulatory prerogatives of the state. Third, even after the landslide drubbing proponents of Obamacare took in the November elections, federal elected officials are not moving to repeal, defund or otherwise stop it.

By engaging in a debate, and ultimately legislation to nullify this most odious federal law, Missouri lawmakers have an opportunity to take the lead where members of Missouri’s executive branch have had feet of clay. Further, Missouri will begin the slow process of restoring the state’s proper position in the pantheon of American political institutions. I am convinced that this is a potent curative to the overreach we have been experiencing these last many years.

Should I prevail in the 2012 election for the United States Senate, you will have an ally in the reassertion of the Great State of Missouri’s sovereignty. I do believe it will be my role to help protect Missouri from federal laws and regulations that overstep the proper role of the federal government.

Toward that end, I make these commitments to you and to your successors in office:

1. Each year, I will meet with you and the General Assembly expressly to discuss any federal actions or contemplated actions that we are concerned constitute an overreach by the federal constitutional authority. (Perhaps the week of March 23rd would be a good time given its significance as an anniversary of Obamacare.)

2. I will support you in any effort to nullify or interpose any law, regulation, or other action that we deem to be an overreach of federal constitutional authority.

3. Finally, I will fight against any action by the federal government to punish the state or Missourians for any expression of their sovereignty. I know that the federal government can use its power to withhold and intrude in our state, and I will fight to stop this abuse.

I am copying this letter to your fellow legislators, and to Governor Nixon and Attorney General Koster, for their information and education. Also, I intend this to be a "circular letter" and will treat it as such.

I wish you all the best on this day, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.


Ed Martin


Click here for Ed Martin's web site.


What is Interposition?

An action whereby some power or authority defends the liberty of another by placing itself between a threat and the other person.

A police officer or citizen rescuing a little old lady from a mugger would be an act of interposition.

According to Art. I Sec. 2 of the Missouri Constitution, state government's "principle office" is to interpose on behalf of the citizens:

"That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design."

Missouri officials have an obligation to interpose on behalf of the people.

What is State Nullification?

It is the state interposing on behalf of it's people when a federal power attempts to unlawfully diminish their sovereignty.

“a legal theory that a U.S. State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional” (Wikipedia)

What are some historic examples of Interposition or Nullification?

  • The Virginia and Kentucky Resolves of 1798
  • South Carolina's nullification of the Tariff of Abominations in 1835
  • Wisconsin's protection of an accused run away slave from unconstitutional provisions in the Fugitive Slave Act

What are some modern examples of Interposition or Nullification?

  • Missouri law rejecting the federal RealID Act
  • Missouri law refusing to implement the National Animal Identification System
  • Missouri's Health Care Freedom Act (Prop C)
  • Various states' medical mara juana laws
  • Judge Roy Moore's disobeying federal order to remove his 10 Commandment monument


The Book: Nullification: How to resist federal tyranny in the 21st Century

Interview with a Zombie About Nullification

Nullification: Answering the Objections

10th Amendment Center