Dear Citizens of El Paso County,

This is part two of my expansion series on my Contract with the County. You can download a copy of the Contract with the County here. In this post, I’ll expand upon Pledge #2: Unconstitutional Laws.

This is related to Pledge #1: The Sheriff as a Check and Balance. The two concepts are intertwined. While the first one addressed how the Sheriff has a Constitutional duty to push back against government overreach, largely with respect to the executive branch, Pledge #2 is more about legislative branch overreach.

Let me preface my following comments with one thought. I will always enforce Constitutional laws, fully, faithfully, and with blindness to those involved. My issue is with laws that infringe on your Constitutional rights.

What happens when a legislature passes an unconstitutional law? What makes a law unconstitutional?

Unconstitutional Law

Constitution of the United StatesYour rights are granted by God, not by government. Therefore, government cannot revoke them. Government’s job is to protect those rights, oftentimes from government itself.

That’s not to say that some in government won’t try to infringe upon those rights. After all, we had eight years of Barack Obama running roughshod over the Constitution, trampling on and laying waste to every right he could damage. He tended to use Executive Orders/Actions since he couldn’t get Congress to join him on most of his pillaging raids.

So infringement is certainly not unprecedented, and we’ve seen it throughout history. Look at how many times appellate courts, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, have struck down or overturned bad laws. They do so based upon a determination that the law itself was unconstitutional.

But what happens when a bad law meanders through the legal review process, bouncing up and down the judicial system before a final decision is rendered? That can be tough to square at times.

My Litmus Test

I have a simple litmus test. If I feel strongly that a law infringes on a God-given right, I won’t enforce it. Take the Second Amendment, for example, the most viciously-targeted right you have. Liberals stop at nothing in their quest to nullify it and confiscate your guns.

We’ve seen it in Colorado. The state legislature passed a series of gun control laws in 2013 that most county Sheriffs rejected as unconstitutional. They pledged not to enforce them, and I’ll do the same.

But what if I’m wrong when I determine a law is unconstitutional? Then you hold me accountable.

I want an open dialogue with the citizens of the county and robust engagement on every facet of the Sheriff’s Office as possible. If you feel I’m misreading a law when I choose to ignore it, let me know. Likewise, if you believe I am wrong in enforcing a law you believe is unconstitutional, then I want to hear that as well.

Being elected by you means I work for you, and not for a mayor, the county commissioners, or the governor. That’s the value in an elected Sheriff as the top law enforcement officer in the county.

Bottom Line

Your rights are safe and secure with me. I stand as a protector of them and a shield against government that might try to infringe on, or worse, nullify them.

I will NOT enforce laws that I believe are unconstitutional.