Letters to the Editor

Federal courts, not local officials, have the power

The sheriff of Linn County, Oregon, (as quoted by Tim Personius) wrote that he would not allow his citizens to be “…turned into criminals due to the unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians.” To prevent that ludicrous hypothetical, Sheriff Mueller says that he will not “permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officials within the borders” of his county. Both gentlemen should better acquaint themselves with the U.S. Constitution that they claim to revere.

Article III, Section 1. “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

Article III, Section 2. “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States…”

It is these two sections which establish the federal courts as the arbiters of constitutionality. Nowhere within the words of the Constitution is there mention of sheriffs or, for that matter, any local officials having authority to supersede that authority. Moreover, what is known as the Federal Supremacy clause is very clear is stating the pre-imminence of federal law: Article VI, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; …shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The authority to determine whether any “Laws...made in pursuance thereof” are constitutional belongs solely to the duly appointed and approved members of the Supreme Court of the U.S. The people of this country have properly elected state and federal legislatures and executives with the sworn responsibility to make and enforce laws under the constitution. Anyone proposing or publicly endorsing resistance to the authority of the duly elected and sworn executive authority of the government of the people should look up the word “sedition.”

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas. He chided Mr. Douglas for his views on slavery by saying that, “He never can be brought to understand that there is any middle ground on this subject.” Mr. Personius and Sheriff Mueller need to likewise recognize that there is a middle ground with regard to the Second Amendment. Arguing that there is some imagined threat to our right to bear reasonable arms is, to once again quote Mr. Lincoln, as thin as “soup made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”

Similarly, while knowing virtually nothing about me but claiming that my views are tainted by hatred of guns, despite the fact that I own many guns (safely locked away) and have a concealed pistol license, creates a straw man fallacy and ignores the possibility of reaching “middle ground” and is also very thin soup.

Robert DuChaine



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