In this second installment, we will discuss the details of the article which appeared in the
under the title
The Renegade Sheriffs.
In Part 1, we shared a few of the many examples of Sheriffs, peace officers and other elected officials who have lived up to their oath in defending the rights of their constituents from enemies of the Constitution. Some of these enemies are of the "domestic" variety, and hold positions in government.
Here, we will go through parts of the New Yorker article itself, and show the inaccurate and misleading nature of some of the claims made by the author, Ashley Powers, who visited us a couple years ago and attended a couple of our
Oath of Office
training events. I was in charge of the one in the DC area, and, along with Sheriff Mack, was an instructor at the one in Arizona, She spoke with me more than once, and asked about our philosophy.
During our conversations, I specifically and directly contradicted the ludicrous claims made by previous "media" coverage of CSPOA, but not only did she fail to include our official positions, she repeated many of the bogus claims in her article, the subtitle of which is:
A law enforcement movement that claims to answer only to the Constitution."
And here's where the misleading claims begin, even before the body of the piece. Such a statement is too brief and lacks context to be understood. But worst of all, neither Sheriff Mack, nor I would ever make that statement. It was a conclusion and creation of the author.
In the article, she never offers a single sentence uttered by a CSPOA leader to back up her claim. A Constitutional American knows that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and so are laws passed in "in pursuance thereof" (Article VI). Thus, a Constitutional Sheriff follows the Constitution and the laws which are Constitutional. But so does the Supreme Court. And the Congress. So in this sense, all three branches are subservient to the Constitution.
Another unsubstantiated claim in the article is as follows:
"C.S.P.O.A. members believe that the sheriff has the final say on a law's constitutionality in his county. Every law-enforcement officer has some leeway in choosing which laws to enforce, which is why it's rare to get a ticket for jaywalking, for example. But, under this philosophy, the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which dictates that federal law takes precedence over state law, is irrelevant. So is the Supreme Court."
This false claim is ridiculous, and comes without any statement by a CSPOA spokesman to back it up. The author obviously does not understand the Constitutional principle of Federalism, or the limits on the supremacy clause. First of all, why would Sheriffs Mack and Printz take their case to the courts, if they believed that the courts were "irrelevant"? And why didn't they just ignore the Brady Bill they were fighting and save the $400,000 and all the headaches the ultimately successful challenge would cost?
Further, in their challenge of this particular federal law, which they knew was unconstitutional, the Sheriffs submitted to the Supreme Court, which sided with the Constitution, and thusly, the Sheriffs.
Here's a short lesson on Federalism, from the actual writers of the Constitution, James Madison wrote:
"Widely regarded as one of America's most valuable contributions to political science, federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments. James Madison, "the father of the Constitution," explained it this way: "The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people."
And Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not "subordinate" to the national government, but rather the two are "coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole.The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government."(Source: National Center for Constitutional Studies).
It is also noteworthy that though she ever so briefly mentioned the summary of the winning SCOTUS decision, which she actually had in her possession, the author totally ignored what it said, and failed to include it in her article, which was allegedly intended to explain the group (CSPOA) she was reporting on. In the lower federal court, the Sheriffs won, but the Fed
wouldn't accept Constitutional defeat, in spite of this finding:
"Mack is thus forced to choose between keeping his oath or obeying the [federal law], subjecting himself to possible sanctions".
(Judge John Roll, Federal District Court in Tucson)
So they appealed to the SCOTUS.
It was the Constitution that came out the winner there also. The unconstitutional Brady Act required Sheriffs and other CLEOS (Chief Law Enforcement Officers), to enforce the federal law. Here is just one quote from Justice Scalia's majority opinion, (which we explained in detail in a PowerPoint presentation given to all attendees, and in the written materials handed out with the author present) from the Court:
"The Federal government, we held, cannot compel the states to enact or administer a federal regulatory program."
So much for the article's claim that CSPOA believes the Supreme Court and federal law are irrelevant. In this case, the Supreme Court was the friend of CSPOA, and together they nullified the "pretended legislation" of the Congress.
The question, for Ms. Powers, who was presented with all these ideas, both verbally and in printed materials, yet refused to present it to the readers, is "why"?
In Part 3, we will finish the discussion of this article, and the sad fact that the media seem to be unable to present our positions and philosophy accurately.