Ali Velshi reports on the constitutional sheriffs movement, wherein sheriffs, typically a county’s highest-level law enforcement officer, believe their authority supersedes state and federal law. To date, U.S. sheriffs have used this theory to resist gun control laws, immigration laws, tax laws, and land management, health, and environmental policies.
The most prominent example of a constitutional sheriff: former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who dressed inmates in pink underwear and made youth work in chain gangs. Arpaio, says Velshi, “believed he was not just the law enforcement, but the law himself.”
Today, the Oath Keeper-founded organization Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) has declared, in defiance of the words of the actual U.S. Constitution, that sheriffs are the ultimate deciders of what’s legal and what’s not. Not the president. Not the Supreme Court. County sheriffs.
Sheriffs outrank … the president?
Although CSPOA’s membership is small compared to the total number of sheriffs in the U.S., a 2022 Marshall Project survey found that half of the country’s sheriffs believe their authority outranks that of federal or state government. The theory and practice of constitutional sheriffs turns the idea of American democracy on its head. Says Velshi, “A sheriff is meant to be an impartial arbiter of the law. If the local sheriff has the ultimate constitutional authority over state and federal government …. then welcome, to the wild, wild West.”
LISTEN: ALI VELSHI ON CONSTITUTIONAL SHERIFFS
WATCH: ALI EXPLAIN THE CONSTITUTIONAL SHERIFFS MOVEMENT
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