Is the County Sheriff America’s Last Hope? Print
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 07:18

Richard MackThere are many politically inspiring books available for citizens interested in changing the direction of our country, and none more so than The County Sheriff: America's Last Hope by Sheriff Richard Mack, published this year.

Not only does this easy-to-read, 47-page book sensibly explain the current destructive path America is on, it opens up a whole new set of possibilities for restoring this country's focus on its constitutional republic.

Sheriff Mack is the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, who in 1994 brought a lawsuit against the Clinton Administration and the recently enacted Brady Bill for what he believed was an unconstitutional abuse of authority.

The Brady Bill forced county sheriffs to do the federal government's bidding to promote gun control within their jurisdictions. If sheriffs resisted, they were subject to federal arrest and incarceration.

Sheriff Mack tells his own story of how he became aware of the hypocrisies within the law-enforcement systems. He became increasingly frustrated by the vicious circle the drug war had become, and with priorities focused primarily on making quotas (arrests, tickets, etc.) to justify funding from the federal government, which was actually corrupting law enforcement's purpose and the very oath that every officer had sworn - to protect the liberties and rights of the citizens they served. Mack wanted desperately to return the office of sheriff to its rightful place of honor and service in protecting all his constituents' freedoms as defined by the finest governing document ever created - the U.S. Constitution:

"This book will offer proof positive that you [the county sheriff] have the authority, the power, and the duty to be the ultimate check and balance for the American citizenry in your county and to defend them against all local and federal criminals."

Sheriff Mack had had enough and sued the federal government on grounds that the Brady Bill violated the Constitution. Mack argued that the federal government had no authority to commandeer state or county officers for its purposes.

Sheriffs from six other states joined in the lawsuit - Texas, Vermont, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming - and on June 27, 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mack, affirming that the Brady Bill was unconstitutional and that the federal government was overstepping its bounds. "The ruling stated at least three times that the States 'were not subject to federal direction,'" Mack writes.

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Richard Mack interviewed by Reader publisher, Todd McGreevy on November 19, 2011 Common Sense Revisited radio broadcast. 

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Richard Mack statements on Gerry Donaldson's Draw A Line radio show in October 2011

This case, Mack V. U.S., is a monumental coup for every American because it firmly established the sovereign authority of states and counties to govern themselves against intrusion by the federal government. In the ruling, Supreme Justice Scalia wrote: "The Federal Government may not compel the states to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program."

The result of this landmark case is that the county sheriff and police are truly the final arbiters of how much or little our liberties are protected as defined by the U.S. Constitution. The county sheriff is part of the enforcement arm of the executive branch, and, like the president, takes an oath to defend and protect the Constitution as the primary directive within his/her county.

This was a stunning revelation and cause for celebration because the out-of-control federal government created crisis suddenly became manageable within the scope of our own counties and cities.

Sheriff Mack's courageous efforts and the Supreme Court ruling reaffirm that every law-enforcement officer is not a pawn of the oppressive federal government, but a supreme protector of our liberties and inalienable rights. Our sheriff and his deputies are the last line of defense against what is fast becoming a leviathan federal government.

Renewed hope and enthusiasm for the future have replaced a terrible sense of frustration and civic impotence. Citizens now have viable means to re-engage in a county-wide effort to reestablish a commitment to constitutionally sound laws and policies that will restore our republic one county at a time - even if it means challenging federal institutions and bureaucracies when they transgress the Constitution.

Our own sheriffs and police force are first and foremost the citizens' protectors, as well as the final protectors of the supreme law of the land. At the end of the day, it is legally, therefore legitimately, their call, as immutably confirmed in 1997 by our U.S. Supreme Court! How exciting is that?

Justice Scalia quoted our fourth president, James Madison, in the 1997 ruling, "We can safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority." He went on to say: "The great innovation of this design was that our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected by incursion by the other, a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two forms of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it."

Justice Scalia again quoted Madison, "The local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere."

We owe Sheriff Mack a great debt. He has proven that by challenging laws and policies as measured by the Constitution, laws that abuse our liberties can be overcome. He has also caused an official public record declaring that individual state and county law enforcement is bound to the supreme law of the land - the U.S. Constitution - above all else, and doing so is not only their right but their most sacred duty as peace officers.

So now the path back to civic and political sanity is much clearer. Citizens must do four things immediately:

First, reaffirm through legislation Iowa and Illinois state sovereignty. Thirty other states have already begun this process.

Second, recruit and elect county sheriffs, county attorneys, and district judges who are committed to the U.S. Constitution first, and have the strength of conviction and leadership to stand up for the people against tyranny and abuses from the federal government. In turn, citizens must give their full measure of support to such individuals who qualify for these honorable positions.

Third, educate ourselves and our children about our rights. At a minimum, read the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution), and The County Sheriff: America's Last Hope by Sheriff Richard Mack (SheriffMack.com).

Fourth, start talking about these civic principles with family, friends, associates, educators, small-business owners, our local municipal and business leaders, and state legislators. The more people interested in a more independent community that has a healthy and supportive bond with law enforcement, the more likely we can create the change necessary to restore the republic.

Finally, Justice Scalia emphasizes: "This separation of the two spheres is one of the Constitution's structural protections of liberty. ... [Creating] a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front."

All we need now is to re-implement these principles and reaffirm for the world and ourselves just how miraculously inspired America's founders really were.