The Plan for Police Nullification

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   3/26/14
“I [sic] give my left n** to bang down your door and come for your gun,” said the cop. This statement, made by Branford, Ct., police officer Joseph Peterson in a Facebook conversation earlier this month, created quite a blogosphere firestorm. Internet commenters from Sacramento to Saratoga struck a note of defiance and e-shouted the ancient words of Spartan King Leonidas, “Molon labe!” On the other side there’s Ct. governor Dannel Malloy (D), who said to a gun owner at a March 13 town-hall meeting that the anti-Second Amendment set won and “you lost.” But it occurs to me that in-your-face actions can go both ways.

Pondering this brings to mind yet another type of response to the (anti)Constitution State door-banger: from law-enforcement officers (LEOs) vowing not to enforce unconstitutional gun laws. One of them, a retired career detective responding to Officer Peterson’s statement that his job is only to enforce the law — and that he must do so no matter what form it takes — called Peterson a “fool” and wrote, “Part of the filtering process in criminal justice IS the police choosing whether or not to enforce a law at a particular point in time on a particular person.” This gets at an important point: the “good soldier” cop argument is bunk. No LEO tickets everyone driving 31 in a 30 zone, many laws are on the books but not enforced at all, and no moral cop would obey a command to round up all members of a certain ethnic group for extermination. Police use discretion all the time.[pullquote]“Part of the filtering process in criminal justice IS the police choosing whether or not to enforce a law at a particular point in time on a particular person.”[/pullquote]

And, if our constitutional rights are to be secure, we need fewer Officer Petersons in the world and more, let’s say, Sheriff Joe Arpaios. We don’t need good-soldier cops — we need good-citizen cops.

The solution to this problem lies in the LEO selection process. If your area is electing a sheriff, there must be an explicit litmus test:

Will you protect constitutional rights?

And will you disobey unconstitutional orders, no matter their origin?

Any waffling or hesitation should disqualify the candidate. We need LEOs who won’t just yes us to death, for electoral ambitions have a way of greasing the tongue. We need LEOs who are passionate about the issue, stout-hearted cultural and constitutional warriors. And while we can’t read minds, remember this: if you want to know what a person wants you to believe he believes, listen to what he says. If you want to know what he really believes, listen to how he says it. While some people are A-list actors, it’s hard to fake true passion.

But even this isn’t enough. The candidate must also agree to incorporate as part of regular deputy training a comprehensive course on the U.S. Constitution. This course must reflect what is called a strict “originalist” view of the document, but what is really just the only lawful, correct view. (It would be silly to call someone who follows the rules of poker an originalist and someone who doesn’t a “pragmatist.” The latter is called a cheater.) It must emphasize that an unconstitutional law is no law at all.

This brings us to something else Gov. Malloy said to the gun owner at the town hall: “[W]e have courts. Courts are where the constitutionality of things are [sic] decided.”

Actually, no, they’re not.

Courts are where the courts’ position on constitutionality is decided.

As for actual constitutionality, that’s an objective reality that cannot be changed by cheaters who rationalize that rules can be “living” (which is convenient when you‘ve assumed the power of life and death over them).

And “assumed” is the operative word. Nothing in the Constitution grants the courts the power to be the ultimate arbiter of the document’s meaning. So who did grant the courts this power?

The courts themselves!

Chief Justice John Marshall took it upon himself to assert this right in the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision. This started the transition from the rule of law to the rule of lawyers.

This is why the LEO Constitution course must also incorporate Thomas Jefferson’s correct position on the courts’ role. Our third president wrote in 1819 that he denied “the right they [the courts] usurp of exclusively explaining the constitution…,” saying that if that right became status quo, “then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se.” That’s Latin, of course.

It means “suicide pact.”

And no American has an obligation to be party to a suicide pact.

Jefferson went on to explain, “For intending to establish three departments, co-ordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another, it has given, according to this [judicial review] opinion, to one of them alone, the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to that one too, which is unelected by, and independent of the nation.” Quite right. And if the courts can unilaterally decide that they have ultimate-arbiter power, guess what?[pullquote]We don’t need good-soldier cops — we need good-citizen cops.[/pullquote]

We can unilaterally decide they don’t.

Yes, in-your-face actions can go both ways.

As for law enforcement, what if you can’t vote for your head LEO because you live in a city in which the mayor appoints a police chief? Then the litmus test a sheriff would have to pass must be applied to a mayoral candidate. If he’s a Bolshevik Bill unwilling to appoint a Constitution-loving-and-fearing chief who will institute the aforementioned Constitution course, tell him sorry, but only true Americans need apply.

As first responders, LEOs can also be first persecutors or first protectors. What they actually will be is up to us.
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12 Responses to The Plan for Police Nullification

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Unfortunately, all too many communities are one-party constituencies. Louisville isn’t, quite, but it’s close. And when the ruling party consists of Democrats, then obedience to the actual Constitution is most unlikely.

    Jefferson also said of judicial review in 1820, “The judiciary of the United States is the corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine the foundations of our confederated republic.”

    Officer Peterson didn’t merely say he would obey orders like a good little Gestapo officer. He said he would gladly obey certain vicious orders like a vicious little Gestapo officer. Well, one way citizens can respond to such forces is by regarding them as criminal organizations (as I do everyone who currently works in the federal Executive Branch, since they ultimately do the bidding of the Gangster President).

  2. Tom says:

    And those millions of ready and able individuals who will certainly oppose his actions will if necessary, more than gladly mount his severed head on a pike in the front yard.
    Statists and liberal progressives have never been very good at numbers. They fail to realize that they are out numbered a thousand to one by armed, liberty minded patriots who, when there is nothing left to lose will stop at nothing to protect the last vestiges of their liberty.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I hope you’re right. But those who are most willing to take dangerous risks are the young, whereas the strongest general support for freedom are the elderly (as long as you don’t take away their Medicare and Social Security, of course, but that’s a problem at every age level). How many Millennials will fight for their freedom, and how many would prefer to be Julia or Pajama Boy?

      • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

        That is indeed a critical question. But I do think one thing our side has going for us is that the Left is not very good at martial virtues – they’re not fighters, they’re just willing to send hired men to do their dirty work. If it comes down to a threat of actual armed conflict, and we make it plain we will take the fight to them personally and not just to their hired hands, they might be persuaded to allow us to go our own way in peace.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The Left is willing to engage in hooliganism (as groups such as the Occupiers demonstrate), but not much more than that — and when they do, they’re often incompetent at it. I’d hate to see the day when we have to oppose the State violently and can understand anyone who doesn’t want to take the risk personally (I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to do so). But there are plenty who would, and they would do so effectively. And with increasing information, they’d know where to strike (e.g., the likes of George Soros and Tom Steyer).

      • Tom says:

        Millennials will not have a choice but to fight, their world is evaporating before their eyes and they’re not happy either.
        As stupid as most of them are, they will GET IT once they’re cold and hungry enough.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      I agree, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the numbers we have are no good at all unless we are a) organized as a resistance, and b) have an actual plan of resistance to government. I have not taken this to its logical conclusion yet in my writings on ST, but I will here: such resistance must further result in either the government capitulating to us and repealing the obnoxious act, whatever it may be (here gun confiscation), or in the actual removal of public officials from their offices while we proceed to take such steps as are necessary to reclaim our liberty.

      • Rosalys says:

        You are, of course, correct. Now how?

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          Rosalys – sorry I missed your question at the time. I can only say keep reading ST for further articles on the subject. I’ve given the matter some thought, but haven’t written anything down yet. I want to research techniques of resistance that do not actually require taking up arms against a state government and causing the arrest of officials such as the governor, although it may in the end come down to that, because a revolt would be the absolute last resort.

          Another reason I haven’t written about this is that I keep thinking some precursor articles would be desirable on the nature of the social compact and when and how it would be permissible for a State to secede from the Federal union. If the union were dissolved, freeing us from the Federal assaults on our liberty, we might agree to let the more tyrannical governments go their way in peace (for now), and then perhaps walk in and pick up the pieces after their inevitable collapse.

          • Pokey Possum says:

            It’s been quipped that if the county I live in seceded from the union, we would be the largest nuclear threat in the world.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    Daniel Mitchell has an article available on TownHall that discusses gun control and Fort Hood, and at one point links to a year-old survey of 15,000 police officers on the subject. Of these, 95% opposed the leftist magazine-size limits, and 70% thought a ban on the semi-automatic weapons miscalled “assault weapons” would have no effect (another 20% thought the ban would be harmful). Following his link, I found that it had several other questions; in particular, about 2/3 supported those who oppose enforcing such gun control/confiscation. I suspect that the number who would eagerly enforce such controls would be very low (though some no doubt would do so reluctantly rather than disobey orders and lose their jobs).

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      Interesting, Tim. What I take from that is confirmation of my idea that when resistance to tyranny becomes necessary, it must be initiated before the collapse into dictatorship has gone so far that the police and military have become completely corrupted, the police seizing private firearms and the military perhaps willing to fire on American citizens.

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