Rule of Law

A Lawman who Respects the Whole Constitution

One of the most disturbing planks of the tea party platform is the embrace of nullification and even at times secession in response to federal laws tea partiers do not like.

As we’ve covered here and here, these claims represent subversion of the Constitution by advocates that purport to love and adhere to our founding document.

Focused initially upon the Affordable Care Act, these claims are now being made increasingly in response to federal gun control laws.

In some extreme cases, these claims have morphed into crazy talk about “Second Amendment remedies” and armed resistance to the federal government. (The Founders who participated in the actual Revolution would have laughed these calls for insurrection out of the room. See our earlier coverage of one-time candidates Rick Barber and Sharon Angle.) 

 More widely, and no less troubling, law enforcement officers have been pledging not to enforce any gun-related policies that the Obama administration might initiate, apparently believing that their personal oaths to the Constitution empower them to unilaterally decide to enforce some laws and defy others.

All this makes this level-headed defense of the Constitution by a Republican sheriff from Idaho all the more welcome and worth reading.

 Sherriff Gary Raney has served as Sherriff of Ada County since 2005. He writes in the Idaho Stateman:

I have been asked many times in the past couple of weeks whether I will uphold my oath to defend the Constitution and proclaim an intolerance of federal action against the Second Amendment.

Many others have indulged that pressure and now we see Oregon sheriffs, Wyoming legislators and others making hollow promises to protect you from the intrusions of the federal government. Let me respectfully remind you that we are the federal government, the state government and the local government.

I did not swear to uphold just part of the Constitution. Our Constitution includes the right to keep and bear arms, but it also includes the “supremacy clause” that says that every state shall abide by the laws passed by our Congress.

So, despite the fact that I personally oppose some of the gun control measures currently under consideration, my oath requires me to uphold the laws that are passed by our federal and state representatives.

Raney’s whole statement, published in the Idaho Statesman, is very much worth a read.