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The Sheriff is the Ultimate Authority Within His County

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posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 08:38 AM
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originally posted by: Gryphon66
Could someone point out the citation in the US Constitution that refers to the establishment of the office of "Sheriff"?

Are you unaware that every State also has a Constitution?

Are you also unaware that the States are the PRINCIPAL, and the Federal Government is [supposed to be] the AGENT?


As would be required by the phrase "CONSTITUTIONAL Sheriff"?

Already pointed out your error.


Thank you kindly.

You're welcome.




posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 09:05 AM
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a reply to: tanstaafl

Why yes I was aware of State Constitutions but thanks for reminding me of the obvious! Much appreciated!

Tell me, if that is the justification (and it isn't) for claiming that a Sheriff (a County officer) takes his or her primary jurisdiction and authority from the State level of governance (the Constitutions) ... perhaps you can explain why we don't preface every office and title in County and or City Government in the same fashion? Why we'd have Constituonal Dog Catchers and Constitutional Sanitation Engineers etc.

Unless you have a legal source for the principal/agent patter, I'll go with the Supreme Law of the Land aka the US Constitution's take on the matter.
edit on 18-2-2016 by Gryphon66 because: Spelling



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 09:07 AM
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The legal foundation for sheriff as the ultimate authority within their jurisdiction is established by the Supreme Court decision in Printz v United States (which absorbed a simultaneous lawsuit, Mack v United States). Mack and Printz were duly elected sheriffs who challenged the federal government's authority to "direct" their actions, basically claiming (as I understand it) that as duly elected officials, they answered only to the people who elected them, thus giving them "ultimate" authority.

The decision of the Supreme Court, written by Justice Scalia, can be found here.

I don't want to comment further until I have a chance to read the entire decision, but I wanted to post it for others to read and educate themselves on the background of the "Constitutional Sheriff."



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

Printz basically states that the Feds can't dictate actions (or assign duties) that derive from Federal statutes to County officers (and the Sheriff is the primary LEO at most county levels).

As I understand it anyway. A sheriff is still subject to Federal jurisdiction, and unless it is a Federal matter, the Feds are subject to the Sheriff or State Police (Governor).



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 10:36 AM
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a reply to: Gryphon66



Printz basically states that the Feds can't dictate actions (or assign duties) that derive from Federal statutes to County officers (and the Sheriff is the primary LEO at most county levels).

Yes. That is why that portion of the Brady bill was stricken. It was not because local authorities are the ultimate authority, it was because the 10th amendment says that the federal government cannot force local authorities to perform the background checks which the federal law required. If it was purely a matter of local authority, the entire law would have been ruled unconstitutional. Clearly, it wasn't. Clearly nor are other federal laws which override state and county laws.

Nowhere does it hint that the authority of a county sheriff exceeds that of the Governor of the state or that of the federal government (in that county).


This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.


A sheriff cannot choose which laws to enforce, nor can a sheriff act as judge.

edit on 2/18/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)

edit on 2/18/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2016 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: Phage

That is a perfect description in my understanding as well, with the only proviso being that, as Federal and State (and therefore County/City) are joint jurisdictions. If it is a matter of Federal law (or crime) the Feds have primary jurisdiction, and then each State/County/City has different levels of authority after that.

In general the "subservient" position that so many try to place the Federal level of jurisdiction in, is by and large, garbage logic.
edit on 18-2-2016 by Gryphon66 because: Spelling



posted on Feb, 19 2016 @ 02:45 AM
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a reply to: Phage

a reply to: Gryphon66

a reply to: Boadicea

I think the pro argument rests in that portion that you just quoted last Phage. Sounds like the sheriff is bound to uphold the supreme law of the land just like every sworn executive official. One could also interpret that to mean that he has a duty to apprehend another agent the same as he would a civilian if he feels they are violating that supreme law of the land.

Agent makes unconsrtitutional move. Sheriff says 'Boom! You're done! Get out of my county!' He knows a judge will back him, and he can probably unseat that judge if he has a clear case and the judge does not back him. I think that's treason, if I'm not butchering the terminology too badly.

Either way, it's illegal for that judge to allow an executive agent to wilfully and blatantly violate the constitution. Hell, it's illegal for the sheriff to allow it really. As an agent sworn to protect the constitution, that agent also faces charges if a clear case can be made. I think in a case like this a sheriff will almost always win if he takes that stance, if there is any equity under the law left in the courts. The fact that he's an elected agent does seem to add some mystique and prestige, though.



posted on Feb, 19 2016 @ 02:56 AM
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a reply to: Phage

a reply to: Gryphon66

a reply to: Boadicea

Also, regardless of where the law comes in on it the sheriff can wield a lot of power within his community, it is a fact. If he wants to make it hard for a federal, state, or local municipal agent to make trouble in his county(whether the agent is actually trying to do that or not), he is one of the best equipped people in his county to make it happen. That is true for most counties in the US I think. He's one of the best equipped to bring charges against anyone in his county as well.




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