Ray McBerry always hosts a good event. And Saturday’s (June 4th, 2011) Tenth Amendment Solutions presentation with Sheriff Mack was no exception. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most compelling forums for constitutional dialogue I have seen. Sheriff Mack, who looks every bit the part of a western Sheriff, lead the audience on a fast paced, sometimes emotional, and always thought provoking tour of the Constitution viewed through the lens of the 2nd Amendment. I am certain nearly everyone learned something new after listening to Mack’s presentation. However, is there a bigger picture here? Does Sheriff Mack’s battle against the Brady Bill in 1994 and his subsequent victory at the Supreme Court in 1997 spell the end of ObamaCare and the overreach of the US federal government? You decide. The SCOTUS decision appears at the end of this article. But let’s start at the beginning.
McBerry kicked off the Tenth Amendment Solutions summit with his trademark questions to an enthusiastic gathering of “Tenthers” that included; a GA State Representative, a sitting judge, police officer, and a variety of other Constitutional activists. “How many of you would agree we could use a little less federal government in our lives?”, asked McBerry. The audience answered with a thunderous approval. “Well, how many of you would agree we could use a lot less federal government in our lives?”, he asked again as everyone stood up and once again roared in the affirmative. “People everywhere are waking up to the fact that only limited government can restore American liberties.”, McBerry said. He went on say elected officials take an oath to defend the constitution and protect our liberties. Any government official not doing so is derelict of duty and must be removed from office or position.
With that send-off, Sheriff Mack took the dais and like a skilled college professor, lead the audience on an adventure in learning – a short course on the constitution from the perspective of the 2nd Amendment. While you might expect this to be an over-testosterone tainted, male gun toting diatribe, it was the opposite. Sheriff Mack weaved the constitution through the vision of our Founding Fathers, the needs of ordinary citizens, tyranny that comes naturally from a society deprived of its God given right to defend itself, and ultimately the real reason the 2nd Amendment was written. And in case you don’t know, the 2nd Amendment was written to give the citizens recourse against a tyrannical government.
The session was titled, “Interposition & The Local Sheriff”. Show of hands – how many of you know the County Sheriff is the highest constitutional officer in the County? In other words, the Sheriff has authority over every other official, including federal officers. The County Sheriff has the authority to arrest federal and state officials who enter his/her local jurisdiction if they break the law. And break the law they often do. One of Mack’s many important points was clarifying that the local elected Sheriff and local law enforcement is essential to liberty in the United States. This is because they answer to the local citizens. The alternative is a national police force which would answer to a central government someplace outside of the control of the local citizens. This undoubtedly would lead to more law enforcement officers sidestepping the constitution and exercising heavy handed or even illegal actions against innocent people.
Mack cited many examples of government officials enacting unconstitutional laws and then enforcing them. Treatment of blacks for example in the 50’s and 60’s was in clear violation of the US Constitution. He told the moving story of Rosa Parks and her decision not to give up her seat to a white man. How would Mack have handled the situation? He would have sat down next to her and made sure she safely got to her destination, in the seat she chose to sit in. That’s the true role of a law enforcement officer protecting a citizen’s constitutional rights, Mack reminded the audience.
Mack related how American citizens of Japanese descent were illegally rounded up and herded into what were essentially, concentration camps during World War II. No due process. No evidence of threats to the US. It was simply another example of government run amok.
Interposition is “the doctrine that an individual state of the U.S. may oppose any federal action it believes encroaches on its sovereignty.” (dictionary.com) Sheriff Mack clearly explained Article 1, Section 8 and how it places simple and easy to understand limits on federal power. The federal government was created by the states and given limited powers to be the agent of the states because it was just more practical to assign certain duties like national defense to a broader entity. But the Founding Fathers knew the creation of a federal government entity would lead to power struggles in the future.
Sure enough, the Alien and Sedition Act was signed into law in 1798. Characterized as unconstitutional by many, it violated the 1st Amendment (freedom of speech) and the tenth amendment limiting the powers of the federal government. Countless thousands of unconstitutional bills have subsequently been written and passed into law, subjecting citizens to oppression similar to that found in totalitarian regimes. In fact, some Constitutional scholars claim 80% of all federal laws today are unconstitutional.
“Where are the protectors of our constitutional rights – the same people who signed an oath of office to protect and defend the US Constitution?”, asks Sheriff Mack.
Elected officials, law enforcement officers, officials in the judicial system, and many other public servants swear an oath to defend the US Constitution. Mack says that oath requires law enforcement, elected officials, and the judiciary to protect an individual’s rights even if you don’t agree with that person’s actions – even if you don’t like that individual. In the case of the bigots trying to deny Rosa Parks her seat on the bus and other constitutional rights, Mack says police officers should instead have provided her safe escort home.
2nd Amendment rights are among the many rights trampled on by US state and federal law. Using outright lies, twisted facts, and the mouthpiece media; laws restricting citizens rights to self-protection number nearly 20,000 according to Sheriff Mack. Yet going back to Article 1, Section 8, Mack says the federal government has no authority to regulate, seize, or ban guns. In fact, governments that do so, often terrorize their own citizens. Government schools today don’t teach students that totalitarian regimes like Russia, China, Cambodia, and others killed hundreds of millions of their own people. Why? Because they could. The government had guns – the citizens didn’t.
In 1994, Sheriff Mack made a tough decision. The Brady Bill had just been passed and it specified a number of unconstitutional attacks on legitimate gun owners rights. To make matters worse, the federal law required local law enforcement to perform background checks, fingerprinting, and other intrusive and unconstitutional gun grabbing tasks. Mack decided to sue the federal government.
Working with the NRA, Mack sued based on several legal theories. One was the 10th Amendment and the other was the 5th Amendment. He ultimately was joined by just 6 other Sheriffs out of a total of 3,100 Sheriffs in the United States. The case Mack & Prinze vs. US Govt was won in in district court, lost on appeal, then went to the Supreme Court where they won a 5-4 decision.
Here is a summary of the Supreme Court decision on Mack vs US, June 27, 1997.
The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case-by-case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.
Justice Antonin Scalia
United States Supreme Court Ruling
in Mack v. US., June 27, 1997
So, if you have read this far, can ObamaCare stand up to this judicial precedent?