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Chuck Baldwin
Aug. 9, 2005

Most of us are aware of the courageous stand taken by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. At issue was the fundamental right of citizens and states to publicly acknowledge God and an odious, overbearing federal judge's (successful) attempt to deny that right. The propensity of the federal government to circumvent the Constitution and to interpolate its will over states and local governments is nothing new. Can anyone say, "Hoorah for the Bonnie Blue Flag!"?

Since the Confederacy fell to the Union in 1865, the federal government has become a gargantuan leviathan that has time and again forced its will upon states and local communities. Unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight. Those state and local officials who attempt to honor their oaths of office continue to find themselves suffering the wrath and ire of pompous and powerful federal officials.

In my own hometown of Pensacola, Florida, Sheriff Ron McNesby recently found himself having to choose between obeying the laws of the State of Florida, laws which he took an oath to obey, or kowtowing to a meddling U.S. attorney. As did Roy Moore, Ron McNesby chose to do the honorable thing and obey his oath.

At issue is U.S. Attorney Greg Miller's unhappiness with Sheriff McNesby informing the public regarding the capture and arrest of people charged with federal crimes, which under Florida statues, McNesby is obligated to do. However, Miller believes such information should be kept quiet. As with many people in the federal government, it appears that U.S. Attorney Greg Miller would prefer to prosecute people under the cloak of secrecy! Can anyone say, "Hail Patriot Act!"?

U.S. Attorney Miller said he could have filed contempt charges against Sheriff McNesby but instead decided to sever ties with him. That means those crimes which would have been tried in federal court will now be tried in state court. Can anyone say, "Please don't throw me in that briar patch!"?

Except for treason, crimes committed in the armed forces or on the high seas, the U.S. Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to even be involved in law enforcement. The fact that the Constitution nowhere lists law enforcement as a federal prerogative means that the Tenth Amendment gives that responsibility "to the states respectively, or to the people." Yes, Martha, this means that the vast majority of today's federal law enforcement activity is blatantly unconstitutional!

Obviously, Miller's action is not intended to be some kind of rueful return to the Constitution, but a punishment to Sheriff McNesby and local government. He is counting on the extra cases further jamming an already crowded state court docket resulting in increased back log, slower prosecution, additional financial cost for the state, and lesser sentences for those convicted of what would otherwise be federal crimes.

No matter. The State of Florida is able to take care of its own law enforcement responsibilities, thank you very much! And thank you to Sheriff Ron McNesby for his unwillingness to be bullied by yet another officious federal officer. Furthermore, since U.S. Attorney Greg Miller doesn't want to play ball with the Sheriff's office anymore, perhaps he should take his bat and ball and go on back to Washington, D.C. Can anyone say, "I'll help him pack!"?

Chuck Baldwin

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