Sheriff Gary Raney Doesn’t Understand the Constitution

Sheriff Gary Raney

Sheriff Gary Raney

On Friday in the Idaho Statesman, Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney made a statement that was printed in the Opinion section. It was called, “I uphold all of the Constitution, not just part of it.”

It’s a bit hard to digest. Let me count the ways.
“Very few occupations include the special pride that comes with the trust inherent in an oath of office, but mine does.”
Hmm…not sure what he means here by “trust inherent.” Do you inherently trust anyone, just because he or she has taken an oath of office? In my view, if history is any guide, being an elected official suggests it is more likely that one is less trustworthy.
 I swore to work within our system of law and justice to fairly enforce what you, through your elected representatives in the Legislature and Congress, have decided should be the law of our land. Those laws are set upon a foundation of checks and balances, embodied in the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
When we forsake the law or disregard those checks and balances, we take the first step down the path towards anarchy.
Nobody I have voted for has ever won an election. Is it still the case that I, through elected “representatives”, have decided should be the law of the land? What if I did actually vote for them? Does that mean I implicitly agree to anything they might do? Gerard Casey dispels this myth of “elected representative.” Political representation is so much less representative than any other relationship deemed “representative,” so much so that to call it such is ridiculous. And he can pay all the lip service he desires to “checks and balances” but he makes a mockery of them by what he says below.
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’m not sure what he means by “we” but I assume he is talking about all of us. I have previously written about this fallacious idea that “we are the state.” It is not the case that anyone comes upon this idea independently. It has to be drilled into us through constant propaganda, like what the Sheriff is providing here. Everything the government does is by force. It is patently absurd that “we” have to elect “ourselves” to force us to do things we would rather not.
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.
Raney seems to have forgotten (if he indeed has ever known it) the most important clause of the Supremacy Clause, which states that the laws of the United States have to be made in pursuance of the Constitution. Obviously federal laws that infringe on constitutional rights are NOT made in pursuance of it.

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.

When we disagree with those laws, the checks and balances built into our government point us toward the proper remedy: changing the laws or challenging them in the judicial branch. As to whether or not the president has the power to issue executive orders limiting our Constitutional rights, that is another matter to be decided by the Supreme Court, not by 44 different sheriffs in Idaho.

For all his talk about how importantly he holds his oath to the Constitution, it seems like he has little understanding of it. The US Constitution lists the powers of the Congress in Article I, Section 8. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights spells out certain things which the federal government is prohibited from doing (though, when drafted, it was argued that they were unnecessary since Article I, Section 8 didn’t give Congress the power to make laws regarding the freedom of speech, press, etc.). If Congress were to make laws contradictory to these restrictions, they are to be null and void. Obviously, laws can’t declare themselves to be null and void, hence the attempt to construct checks and balances. Checks and balances are supposed to be endogenous to the system of government. Obviously, Raney’s first proposed method doesn’t meet this criteria. What is the point of even having constitutional restrictions if Congress can pass any law it desires and the way to change it is to get that Congress to repeal such a law? Neither does the second. I don’t know many people who have the expertise or means to successfully challenge laws before the federal courts. Either way, one has to beg the federal government to follow the Constitution. Does Raney really believe that this is the best the Framers could come up with? In addition, he outright acknowledges that the president’s executive orders limit Constitutional rights. What is the point of constitutional rights if they can be violated at will? As well, the legislative power is to rest with the Congress, not the Executive, and the Constitution does not say, “And the Supreme Court will decide what is constitutional even if federal law contradicts this Constitution.”

Hollow promises and threats will only divert people from doing the right thing — honoring the truth and being involved in a process whereby our rights and liberties are protected by a respect of the law, not by rhetoric.

If any rhetoric is hollow, it is what is written above by Sheriff Raney. What does respect of the law mean if the federal government can repeal it at any time? What is the point of even having state governments if they are simply to be like provinces ultimately run by the federal government? What is the point of electing a sheriff if he does only what the federal government wants him to, rather than what the people who elected want? When it comes down to it, what Sheriff Raney is saying totally rejects the idea of self-governance: he says people in individual counties cannot decide how they want to live; 9 people in black robes who live over a thousand miles away get to do that for them and 300 million other people.

He isn’t upholding the Constitution; he is upholding the federal government.


22 responses »

  1. Excellent article.

    Spooner has pretty much skewered constitutions, but I responded there in a constitutional vein since Raney attempted to justify himself that way. He claimed that he has to pay attention to the entire Constitution, not just the 2nd Amendment. I’m fine with that, but isn’t ignoring the 2nd and following the supremacy clause just as bad as ignoring the supremacy cause and following the 2nd? Either way, it’s “a la carte Constitution”.

    The only reasonable way to follow ALL of it, is to first assume the document is internally consistent. The only way that can work is as you say, (and as it says) that the supremacy clause operates only on otherwise constitutional law. Passing unconstitutional law simply ignores the constitution – and the supremacy clause along with it. It’s not as if, laws being passed contrary to the Constitution, the only part left of it still left operating is the supremacy clause, to allow that unconstitutional law to be enforced. Nope, it’s gone too!

    Most of the commenters there weren’t buying Raney’s line. A few were. As that recent strike-the-root article said, you can really tell who all the fascists are. I suspect he’s out of a job next election. Idaho ain’t New Jersey…

    • Thanks for reading!

      You are quite right about Spooner. And just because we point out office holders’ infidelity to the Constitution does not mean we accept the Constitution as a legitimate “social contract.” Would be better if they stayed within its confines, though.

  2. I see a dialectic in this. ONE pole exists in theory, occupied by two principle forces in relative balance and harmony that are also apparently opposed. Dissent is suspicious of all restriction restriction of all dissent>DISSENT NEEDS TO TRUMP RESTICTION

  3. Sheriff Raney said, “my oath requires me to uphold the laws that are passed by our federal and state representatives.”

    Well sheriff our “federal and state representatives” are supposed to pass laws that fall within the confines of the law of the land… “our” U. S. Constitution – the very first federal law.that was passed.

    Sheriff Raney needs to reread the Constitution and not fall asleep this time.

  4. Pingback: Growing List of Sheriffs and Associations Saying ‘NO’ to Obama Gun Control | Prepper Podcast Radio Network

  5. The problem is the post of Sheriff is an elected one with no knowledge of the law or prior service as an officer of the law are required. Granted most probably have both of these items but I am sure there are some out there like this tool who do not. He looks like a career desk jockey.

    • You know, I am uncertain as to whether having the county sheriff be elected or appointed is better. You’ve just written the problems of the former. The potential problems of the latter are that police departments tend to have certain cultures, especially bad departments. They are going to have a culture that holds the safety of officers above the lives of those they are supposed to protect, expects officers to support other officers when they are violating policy, and not to question their superiors. Thus, in some situations, it might be better to elect someone without prior experience as a law officer.

      Of course, I think there is another option that entails a much lower risk of these problems occurring. If people were free to hire their own police protection, they wouldn’t have to worry about their protectors having more loyalty to the federal government than them, having no knowledge of the law, or otherwise providing them with unsatisfactory service. Because, unlike government police, they can be fired and replaced.

      • Yeah good points. As far as the phrase “To Protect and Serve” I am pretty sure thats even been shot down in the courts where someone tried to sue the police for not being able to protect them when they needed it and the Courts ruled that LEO’s dont have to protect us as its not their responsibility. Here is a quicky on it.
        Kinda makes no sense that they are there for the whole of society. Doesnt protecting individuals fill the role of protecting society? I dont know. Crazyness.

      • This comment is not an argument; simply a question. If sheriff were to be appointed, who would do the appointing? No system is perfect. I would rather be able to elect a sheriff I personally believe will perform his duties in a moral and just manner rather than have hin/her appointed by bureaucrats. In my opinion, his schooling is secondary.

      • Dana, I think that if the office of sheriff were to be appointed, since they are at the county level they might be appointed by county commissioners or possibly even governors.

  6. Pingback: Sheriff Raney Uses Scare Tactics to Get Old Ladies to Give Him Money | Anarcho-Buddy!

  7. Pingback: ENGLISH Remembering Doug Christie, Canadian hero; the worst of the big lies — claiming Hitler took away the guns; 349 American sheriffs defy Obama on gun rights

  8. Any peace officer who becomes the judge of the constitution & the first 10 Amendments is a dictator not officer of truth and justice. They are full of self! God gave us FREEDOM to choose and defend our selves from EVIL and the floodgates of EVIL have opened across this nation with Politicians, Judges & Lawyers who make the laws but are above and refuse to obey or enforce them themselves. The first Shot at Concord was identical to what we face today. either we are Free or we FIGHT again. The Constitution has been trodden on far too long by too much scum!!!!!!!!!

  9. The war has started. It is political for now. How long will it be before it becomes a shooting one between the forces of liberty and tyranny? This war will pit LEA against LEA; LEO against LEO as well as military members against each other–I know, I am a military member and tell you there ARE discussions concerning the lawlessness of this Tyrant-in-chief and of this congress and even of SCOTUS.

    Not all the military will support the people–not all LEAs or LEOs will either–but from my encounters and conversations, I believe most will stand against tyranny.

    SamAdams1776 III
    Molon Labe
    Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
    Forsan et haec olim meminesse juvabit

  10. I have homes in both Idaho and California (Sierra Foothills – El Dorado County). I am disappointed that an Idaho Sheriff cannot take the same, principled stand in favor of the Constitution that my sheriff here in liberal California has taken.

    Clearly, our first move – should any of these unconstitutional bills actually be enacted – will be to challenge them in the courts. However, if the administration should insist upon enforcement before their constitutionality is established, our last line of defense is state and local government. Thank God for those Sheriffs who are standing firm!

  11. Sheriff Gay Raney LOOKS like someone who sucks up in order to get ahead and I just hope Obama never turns a corner too fast….He might break Sheriff Raney’s nose! …….lol,…….

  12. Pingback: The Red Coat List - Those Who Choose "Not" to Defend the Constitution - Political Gripes

  13. It seems the good Sheriff, in all his studies, failed to pay attention to the part about “unlawful” laws and/or orders. It would be in his best interest to worry less about his shiny star and more about his soul, because he is about to sell his to the adversary for the sake of a title… typical politician. As with most climbers, young guys who dash up the ladder, he quit being a “real cop” along time ago.

  14. I live in Idaho. I think this Sheriff needs to be fired. He has no idea what protecting the constitution means. When he or his family member is face down on the ground courtesy of the Federal Government, lets see what he says then. Very sad the people we elect into office don’t care about the people they are supposed to serve and protect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s