Pardoning Arpaio, Trump Preserves The Constitution

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Alan Keyes Former Assistant Secretary of State
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“No state shall…engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay” (US Constitution, Article I.10)

Though not explicitly cited in the White House announcement of President Trump’s pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the US Constitution provides the most obvious and powerful justification for his action. It is a generally accepted principle that ‘the US Constitution is not a suicide pact. The words of the Constitution, quoted above, verify that this is so when it comes to actual invasion of the territory of these United States. The States, respectively, do not simply abrogate their sovereign responsibility to defend their people.

Insuring domestic tranquility is among the first goals the people of the United States declare for the Constitution. Assuring respect for the laws is the best way to pursue that goal.  It not only discourages criminal acts.  It also encourages the peace of mind that allows people to go about their business in the expectation of peace, without apprehension that this entails any dereliction of the constant vigilance required to defend that peace.  In this respect, the first responsibility lies with local officials, who man the first line of defense for our domestic tranquility, the one closest to home.

Not that long ago in our history, this was a fact many Americans had good reason to notice.  In local disputes between new settlers and old, questions of lawful possession and/ or invasion or legal rights often arose. These questions were fraught with existential consequences.  They justifiably roused deep emotions.  Often, they erupted into conflict.  Local sheriffs and town marshals were frequently caught in the middle.  Where actual invasions or infringements of lawful right took place, on one side or the other, it was the duty of local law enforcement to deal with those responsible.  If not, self-interested parties were liable to take the law into their own hands.

In those days, such conflicts centered on matters such as land tenure and/or water rights.  These days, jobs, or the lack of them, are added to the mix, not to mention the ethnic and racial differences, fears and prejudices that have always played a role. It makes no sense to pretend that local law enforcement officials must sit on their hands while the everyday security and domestic tranquility of their communities falls prey to such emotionally charged conflicts.   

Without doubt, the US Constitution places primary responsibility for securing America’s borders under the authority of the United States Government.  But when, by foreign design or administrative dereliction, the domestic tranquility of the people within their territory is directly affected by invasion, the States, respectively, and their people, are obliged to deal with the immediate consequences. This is a function of antecedent natural right, which the Constitution’s 9th Amendment forbids us to deny or disparage on Constitutional grounds.  This natural right has obvious implications for the duty of the people’s representatives in local law enforcement. They have to anticipate and deal with immediate threats to the peace, especially if and when the US Government proves unable or unwilling to do so.

People in states affected for decades by the rise of illegal immigration have good reason to conclude that the Federal government has been in default of its obligations in this respect for several decades.  Federal lawmakers and officials have sporadically acted to sustain the pretense of effective national action, while the damaging effects of their dereliction festered and grew. Indeed, actions taken during the Obama years, seemed purposely to aggravate that damage. Now, in service to their own political advantage, many of these politicians are openly resisting enforcement of US immigration laws. But this simply confirms that their self-serving will has been the main reason for the US Government’s destructive contempt for those them.

Candidate Trump came to understand the political opportunity offered by the anger and frustration of voters affected by the legal and existential crisis created by the dereliction of Federal officials, elected and otherwise. His most politically salient campaign appeals were the ones he made promising to defend our nation’s sovereignty.

Sen. Roy Wyden (D-Ore.) charges that President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio “strikes at the heart of the rule of law in America.”  In fact, it is the decades long, politically motivated refusal to respect and enforce the law (characteristic of derelict Democrats like himself, as well as treacherous GOP politicians who aid and abet their negligence) that has brought the law into contempt, and damaged the everyday lives of America’s law-abiding inhabitants.   

Such politicians are directly responsible for the breakdown of one of the most vital safeguards our laws are supposed to provide.  Far from violating the Constitution, President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio signals his determination to champion and encourage local officials who are determined to support the Constitution of the United States, and the laws made pursuant to its provisions. Their communities are suffering actual harms, on account of an ongoing invasion.  In the person of Sheriff Arpaio, President Trump reassures and encourages all those who do what the Constitution clearly expects of them.

Trump is not the one acting without regard for his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. When they punish or abet punishing such local officials as Sheriff Arpaio, it is derelict Federal Judges, and the politicians who defend them, who violate their oaths.  All these elected/appointed official derelicts stand impeached by their own actions. Starting with next year’s midterm elections, they should face the consequences: Regardless of Party, voters should kick the politicians in question out of office; And replace them with representatives who will call their derelict counterparts in the Judiciary to account.