David Ihde: Constitutionality at issue
March 27, 2013
I would like to respond to the criticisms of Sheriff Garrett Wiggins with support and a potential criticism of my own. First, I'd like to address a point from Nita Naugle's letter to the editor ("Vote for integrity," March 24 Sunday Pilot & Today). There she states that the supremacy clause of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution decrees federal law to be the highest form of law in the U.S. In other words, federal law trumps state law. This is one of the biggest lies perpetrated on the American people in the history of the country.
Our founders would not have done that and, in fact, did just the opposite by instituting federalism (states' rights) with the ability of the people to vote with their feet. That is why we are the United States of America, not the United State of America. The supremacy clause states that the Constitution reigns supreme, not the federal government, and within that, the 10th Amendment decrees that the states and the people reign supreme except where given specific enumerated powers (18) to the federal government. That is why the federal government had to pass a constitutional amendment making alcohol illegal and another one to re-legalize it. Otherwise, it was a state and local (dry towns) matter.
Did they do the same with marijuana and other drugs? No. So with that, is Sheriff Wiggins willing to ignore and not enforce federal drug laws, which are clearly just as unconstitutional as these new state gun laws? Where in the Constitution does it give authority for any level of government to determine what "we the people" can keep and bear? It doesn't, and therefore I fully support Sheriff Wiggins (who took an oath of office to uphold and protect the Constitution as he did to enforce the laws passed by the Legislature) to not enforce unconstitutional gun laws. I just hope he has the same zeal for unconstitutional drug laws.
As to Paul Bonnifield's letter ("Not a popularity contest," March 22 Steamboat Today), all elected leaders take the same oath and therefore have the same power to determine what is or isn't constitutional. The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose because unconstitutionality dates from the time of enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.