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home : opinions : letters August 01, 2014


2/4/2013 10:20:00 PM
Letter: Courts will decide what laws are constitutional

EDITOR:

I am appalled and disgusted by the blatant political posturing of Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher. While his office is elective, it is primarily that of law enforcement. As such, he crossed a red line Tuesday in announcing that he would choose which laws he would enforce and which he would not. Of course, like any citizen, he has a right to express his political views. But if he is such an expert on the Constitution, he will certainly know that the remedy in our system of government for an unconstitutional law or decree lies in the courts and the legislature, not in the office of county sheriff.

Even if Mascher were a constitutional lawyer, which I don't believe he is, he has no right to arrogate to himself legal judgments reserved to other branches of government.

There is a sickness in our society, a psychology that conjures nefarious motives in the minds of those with whom we disagree. This psychology, if unchecked, becomes the justification for ethnic, sectarian or political violence and abandonment of the rule of law. We see its effects in many countries around the world. It is the psychology of the Jared Loughners and the Ossama Bin Ladens of this world who believe their grievance, real or imagined, is so important, so compelling, that the rule of law is no impediment to their actions.

It is easy to whip up conspiracy theories. Some less thoughtful minds are ready to believe that the government is plotting to take away the guns of private citizens. Such notions play easily into the hands of power-hungry gun lobbyists. They stimulate panic buying of guns, clips and ammo, which fattens the purses of gun manufacturers. Rather than have a calm, deliberative debate over gun policy, they remove the possibility of any such dialogue.

There is no easy answer to gun violence. But it is not helpful to have our county sheriff join the ranks of other blow-hard sheriffs who are more interested in political power than the rule of law.

David M. Quinn

Prescott



Related Stories:
• Letter: Read the oath of office for sheriff's actual duties
• Letter: Mascher had reason to voice his opinion


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

Yes, Mr. Quinn, there IS a sickness in our society. That sickness is that our legislators think that they can sidestep the rule of law, each other, the other branches of government, and the Constitution to make whatever they want happen. Then, to make matters worse, people like you liken our Sheriff to a common criminal. Now, THAT is sick. I have a bit of advice for you. Take a law class yourself. Then maybe you will understand the one thing behind the statement that the Sheriff made. If a so-called law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, it cannot, and will not be followed or enforced. Learn the law, like he did, we did, and, obviously, you did not. By the way, have a great day.

Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: Jesse L

Who said: "The fact of the matter is that the courts have already laid down clear precedent that a local sheriff is well within their rights to decline to enforce Federal law."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printz_v._United_States

That is an excellent reference, However I found another that has a lengthy and interesting discussion of the reasons why the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and held that the federal government cannot impose a duty on a state official.

I would point out however, that there is nothing that says that a state official can prevent a federal officer from enforcing a federal statute.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1478.ZO.html


Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Jack May- Actually, Sheriff Arpaio has been criticized numerous times for failing to enforce laws or even investigate crimes that do not relate to immigration, the sole issue on which he has chosen to make his political career.

@Hen House Laws- I agree, but don't know what to do about it. Ideas? Better law enforcement officials? Better laws? Better citizens?


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: O K

Just like when President Obama told federal authorities not to enforce parts of the immigration law that he didn't like.

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Nancy Smith

Personally, I'd like to thank EACH Sheriff on this list.

http://constitutionclub.ning.com/forum/topics/county-sheriff-s-honor-roll

It's not just our Sheriff, kids. Many of them agree with the Constitution.

With, of course, a special thanks to Sheriff Mascher!


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Another Dog

@Jesse L. Sheriff cannot be enlisted to enforce a federal law, unless the State law compels him. However, he will find some real trouble, if he obstructs the enforcement of federal law by federal officials. His constitutional opinions to the contrary, would not be a good excuse for his behavior.

Or, he could just resign, since he seems a worthless panderer making populist extremist noise.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Elizabeth May

This letter doesn't really make very much sense. When a peace officer swears to uphold the Constitution of the United States, it is implied that the officer has some basic ability to do so.

I appreciated the Sheriff's point of view. I appreciate that he sees himself as part of a community that he trusts all in all with self defense. I think he did the right thing by joining other rural counties and representing rural values.


Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Article comment by: Sue Wells

Excellent letter David, I agree 100%! Thank you!

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: J K

It appears the weapons manufacturers have their own cadre of "useful idiots". They pay $35.00 each year to belong to the NRA and are at their beck and call. Then they enrich said manufacturers by panic buying every available weapon and piece of ammo to outgun their elected government in their fantasy world.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: DanP_from _AZ

. . . It is easy to whip up conspiracy theories. Some less thoughtful minds are ready to believe that the government is plotting to take away the guns of private citizens. Such notions play easily into the hands of power-hungry gun lobbyists. They stimulate panic buying of guns, clips and ammo, which fattens the purses of gun manufacturers. Rather than have a calm, deliberative debate over gun policy, they remove the possibility of any such dialogue.
*********************************************************

How about using this to "start a dialogue".

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered 7,000 REAL assault "self-defense weapons".
You know, the military ones that really ARE machine guns.

And 600,000 rounds of REAL hollowpoint "self-defense ammo. NOT practice rounds.

That 600k is just part of the 1.6 billion "real" ammo ordered by the U.S. Government civilian agencies this year.

You might want to check into how many Federal agencies have "armed security agents".
One is the EPA. One is SSA. There are HUNDREDS of these agencies that are "armed".

And you might Google our President's discussion about how he wanted a "civilian security force" with the size and armament of our military.

But, I am just another right-wing gun nut. Well, I am.
You know, the old ". . . not paranoid if they ARE out to get you". {:^)

It's easier to be an ostrich.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Arden Krutz

So tell us, David, what is this "red line" you speak of? Did the Sherrif do something illegal or unethical? Is there some component of his job or the county/state/federal guidelines that he has violated? Has he actually done anything wrong, or is it just a matter of him not agreeing with your leftist ideology?

And speaking of things that are "appalling and disgusting", how about the not-so-subtle way that you compare Jared Loughner and Osama Bin Laden to the Sherrif?

You think the Sherrif is a "blow-hard" because he stated he would not support unconstitutional legal measures? Are there any other examples during his term in office that you would associate with the title "blow-hard", or is it just this one instance of where he basically disagrees with the far left views of people like you and Barack Obama? Wow, you are among the more...not "less thoughtful" after all!

But at least you got one thing partially right, there is a "sickness in our society". However, you obviously have no clue as to the cause of the sickness.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Oliver Klouthsoff

Typical liberal poppycock. Totally ignoring facts to make a ridiculous point. Until the commandant in chief tells him to enforce federal immigration laws all this balderdash is moot...

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: This is Chilling

If you read nothing else this year, please copy and paste the following web address into your browser and go read it in it's entirety. It'll open your eyes, if you can stand it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Jesse L.

Left wing logic:
Local officials enforcing Federal immigration laws = BAD
Local officials enforcing Federal gun laws = GOOD
Local officials enforcing Federal drug laws = BAD

The fact of the matter is that the courts have already laid down clear precedent that a local sheriff is well within their rights to decline to enforce Federal law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printz_v._United_States


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Hen House Laws

This country has too many foxes in charge of the hen house. Too many laws and not enough enforcing does not a country make.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Textbook political ploy

Mascher's gun control statement was a political stunt. Nothing more, nothing less.

He is simply trying to divert your attention from the HUGE budget overruns in building a new jail. Keep your eye on the ball and don't get sidetracked over his silly gun rights nonsense.

He wants to spend more of your money which will result in a tax increase.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: OBAMA Has Too Much Power

and not enough knowledge when it comes to gun laws. He can't even patrol our borders and ignores the Fast & Furious guns that were mysteriously lost. Creating new laws aren't going to work if the present ones don't. He's just finding other things to do instead of balancing a budget or cutting the deficit. He's not stupid and it makes him look like he's actually working.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Rights are Not Negotiable

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are written in English, and the contemporary writings of the Founders are abundantly clear as to the intent of those documents. They are especially clear as to the intent of the 2nd Amendment, and it seems to me that the Sheriff merely recognizing his oath to the Constitution, which is not the same as the Government.

I don't need a bunch of black robed tyrants explaining the Bill of Rights to me, and defining my inalienable rights. We have allowed lawyers and academics to define the political arguments for far too long.

For all of you collectivist progressives out there who think 'reasonable' and 'common sense' restrictions on the 2nd Amendment are justified in the name of public safety, please tell me which 1st, 4th, 6th and 14th Amendment rights are you willing to surrender toward the same goal?

These rights are not granted by government, they are inalienable, and therefore not negotiable. If you have made the decision that you are willing to negotiate your freedom, you have already surrendered to tyranny.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Doug W

Nice letter David.

Anybody who has ever taken a civics class knows how the U.S. government works. It may not be perfect and, like many people, I disagree with our government on many things but this is how our system was set up. There are a number of people and officials in many states, including this one, that feel they have the right to overstep the boundaries, that if a government law is passed a state law can override it. State pubic officials are trying to do this with any gun regulation that may be passed at a federal level. While doing this they are wasting public tax money with this nonsense because they KNOW any conflict between state and federal laws the government wins and there are many that might not like that idea but that�s how it�s set up. Same thing with the supreme court, they are the FINAL word in interpreting the constitution, that�s their job and no lower court can overrule them. Another example of not understanding civics is government spending. Congress writes and funds the laws. The president, whoever is in office, can not overspend if congress doesn�t authorize the funding. I just wish that more people would understand civics and not put their own spin on things just because they don�t like it.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Sanchez

Amen! Madness/Fear as "not enforcing the law" is intended for intimidation by those who have guns that make them feel big and for a law enforcer to join that madness should be unthinkable! This gives the crooks and mentally ill the idea that they do not have to follow the law!
Did nobody pay attention when the remark was made as the gun law was introduced? "We are not going into anyone's home and take their guns, that is not the intent of the law!" ???


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Inde Pendent


Well said!


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Zig E.

To " The Mighty Quinn " - Very well stated sir. Unfortunately reading the many posts of the paranoid clearly shows the mental health element that has to be dealt with before real dialogue can begin.

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

"FIRSTLY, THERE IS NO NEW LAW YET".
Certainly seems to be honky dory for Obama to run off at the mouth about WHAT HE "WANTS" TO DO, but far be the thought that our Sheriff should utter WHAT HE INTENDS TO DO. I can only assume Mr. Quinn would only be happy if our Sheriff would sit down, shut up and fall into lock step with the all mighty.


Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Ben There

David - go back and re-read your letter, substituting "Obama" for "Mascher". Further, try this on: "It is the psychology of the [Barak Obamas] of this world who believe their grievance, real or imagined, is so important, so compelling, that the rule of law is no impediment to their actions." Finally, think about the logic of "the courts" deciding what is constitutional. The judiciary you refer to is part of the federal government. It can be persuasively argued that the federal courts will rule on the constitutionality of laws in such a way as to protect the federal government's power. Also, consider that it was an early Supreme Court case (Marbury v. Madison, I think) in which the Supremes arrogated to themselves (because it is not in the Constitution) the authority to decide what laws are and are not constitutional. The true arbiters of what laws are constitutional are the states and the people, because the feds are our public servants. We are not their subjects.



Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Out.
Standing.
Letter.



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