The politicians conservatives support have proved again and again what is known as “Evans’ Law” (named after famed journalist and author M. Stanton Evans): “When one of our people gets in a position where he can do us some good, he stops being one of our people.”
But in Virginia lives the exception to this rule. His name is Virginia Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, and he is truly a remarkable, principled, and effective public servant.
Oftentimes, those with strong principles don’t know how to present themselves to voters and cannot win re-election. But Bob wins year after year with big margins representing increasingly liberal Northern Virginia. He was substantially outspent in many of those races by Democrats who vilified his conservative social and economic positions. His character and electoral success have served as a witness to other D.C.-area politicians to believe that they can stand by their principles and still be re-elected.
Legislators with strong conservative principles frequently find themselves relegated to the role of backbenchers with little influence on legislation. In the past two decades, Bob’s legislative accomplishments have far eclipsed those of his colleagues.
When both Republicans and Democrats joined to delegate taxing authority to local transportation districts in violation of the Virginia Constitution, Bob filed suit, raised the funds for the lawyers, won his challenge in the Virginia Supreme Court 7-0, and saved Virginia taxpayers millions.
When Congress passed Obamacare, Bob authored the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, providing Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a legal foundation upon which to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare. One of Bob’s primary opponents, Jamie Radtke, has said that one of her proudest achievements was supporting the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. Heck, Bob wrote that law and got it through the General Assembly. He has been on the front line leading amicus briefs opposing Obamacare in the federal courts, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
When Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act empowering the president to order the military to detain American citizen without trial, Bob Marshall wrote the bill (H.B. 1160) that prohibits Virginia officials from cooperation with federal officials when in violation of the Bill of Rights. Bob was vilified by nominal Republican neocons like Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security. Recruiting outside groups for help, he fashioned a coalition drawn from both sides of the aisle, with the final bill passing the Virginia House and Senate by the combined vote of 125-8. Bob’s bill was enthusiastically endorsed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and finally signed by Gov. McDonnell. With Bob’s law, Virginia became the first state in the Union to resist this unconstitutional federal law, encouraging other states to do likewise.
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