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This past Wednesday, I was reading the article “Shooting Straight,” in the Feb. 20 edition, when I came across the following line by Ruth Hollan – “What gives our sheriff the authority to buck the federal government?”
At that point I had to stop and did not know if I should laugh at Hollan’s statement or to feel sorry for her. Perhaps the “what” she is searching for could come from the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Printz vs. US, in 1997. In the ruling Judge Scalia’s summary stated the following:
“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State’s officers directly. 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 policymaking 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. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”
So basically what the highest court in this nation has said is that sheriffs indeed do not have to enforce unconstitutional laws. According to James Madison, one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution, it is not only the right but the duty of our state officers to resist any federal law that is unconstitutional. In addition, Kentucky is itself a sovereign government. Based on the Tenth Amendment and previous Supreme Court rulings, the federal government cannot compel officers of the states to enforce any federal regulation.
We the people of Spencer County elected both Sheriff Stump and Ruth Hollan to protect us and our rights granted to us by this very constitution. It is disappointing that given her position and the trust given to her by her neighbors that she would utter such a statement.
As I continued reading the article, I was shocked and amazed at Hollan’s attitude and found her responses to Jerry Davis both disrespectful and disgusting. For someone in her position, I would expect a little more. I for one, as a resident of Spencer County, applaud and appreciate Davis and hope he continues his efforts to protect our rights.