The authority to compel Americans to wear masks and to social-distance cited by the Moscow Mayor and Council, and many other local government officials, are flagrantly unconstitutional invasions of Liberty and violations of constitutional rights.
The actions of the Moscow Police Department Chief and officers who are enforcing the ordinance make them complicit in this injustice. The ‘Superior Orders’ defense - also known as the Nuremburg defense or ‘I was just following orders’ defense, is never a justifiable or legitimate defense against the charge of violating constitutional rights.
Since City Hall and the members of the Moscow Police Department are willing to infringe the constitutional rights of Latah County residents who live within the city limits of Moscow, it is the duty and obligation of Sheriff Skiles to intervene and protect everyone in his county. The Sheriff is the ultimate law enforcement official in Latah County for all residents - not just those living outside the city.
The Sheriff is fully justified to order the members of MPD to stand down at the risk of arrest. He is fully justified to deputize as many residents of Latah County as necessary to end the egregious enforcement of unconstitutional orders mandated by rogue and over-reaching politicians and bureaucrats.
We will deconstruct the ‘authority’ claimed by City Hall and expose the fallacy that these orders are acceptable under the US Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Idaho. Sheriff Skiles has the legitimate authority to act decisively right now to end the abuse of his residents - there is no need to wait for a court to rule. Indeed - protect the people of Latah County who are being abused now, then let the courts rule on that action!
The following applies to all such orders in Idaho and anywhere else in America where bureaucrats and politicians are exceeding their mandates.
We begin with Article IV Section 4 of the US Constitution: …The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…
Idaho abides by the US Constitution and has established a republican form of government for our state. The separation of powers established in the US Constitution is mirrored in the Idaho Constitution.
Article II, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution clearly states: DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT. The powers of the government of this state are divided into three distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial; and no person or collection of persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any powers properly belonging to either of the others, except as in this constitution expressly directed or permitted.
The very first statute invoked by Governor Little was 46-1011 of the Idaho Code which states, in its very first line: THE GOVERNOR AND DISASTER EMERGENCIES. (1) Under this act, the governor may issue executive orders, proclamations and amend or rescind them. Executive orders and proclamations have the force and effect of law. [emphasis added]
We just established that Article II, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution explicitly forbids the Legislature from surrendering its lawmaking responsibility to the Governor and forbids the Governor from attempting to exercise the power to make a law. The Governor may not make a law – period. Full Stop. This obviously applies to Mayors and everyone else but the legislature. Proclamations, executive orders, et cetera, are not laws. Acting upon 46-1011 as the authority to begin charging people with crimes is, in itself, criminal.
Many of the statutes cited by the Mayor’s office in defense of his Emergency Order 20-03 - the order currently being used against five residents of Moscow facing criminal prosecution - authorize laws/rules ordinances that are ”...not specifically prohibited by or in conflict with the general laws or the constitution of the state of Idaho.”
Mask and social-distancing orders not from the legislature are on their face not ‘laws’ and are violations of the rights and liberties of residents. They are ‘...in conflict with the general laws...’ by definition. Even if such ‘laws’ were put forth by the legislature, they would be invalid, as incompatible with the Bill of Rights and Article I, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution.
COVID has put a spotlight on many weaknesses in our statutes. It has showcased for us all just how quickly many people in positions of authority will attempt to exercise power and control over us. It has shown our legislature to have been sloppy and neglectful in important matters. It has shown why Mayors should not have police officers to do their political bidding, and why cities and towns should not have police departments. It has shown the importance of having a strong Sheriff who defends the Constitution and his county against abusive politicians.
The fundamental arguments against the legality of stay-at-home orders, social-distancing orders, and mask mandates are enshrined in our Bill of Rights at the Federal level, and in the State Constitution of Idaho. Our inalienable rights are inalienable and never subject to the whims or proclamations or orders of any health official or mayor, or legislature or executive. No legislature may empower a health department – or anyone else – to legally violate the inalienable rights of any American - certainly one who is not ill.
Our inalienable rights to movement, to assembly, to wear or not wear a mask, to exercise our religion, our peaceful pursuit of happiness and exercise of liberty are beyond the reach of government interference at all times, so long as we are not infringing the equal rights of others. Declaring an emergency – real, overblown or imaginary – does not turn an inalienable right into something alienable.
Judge Napolitano: Can a state legislature enact laws that interfere with personal liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, prescribe punishments for violations of those laws and authorize governors to use force to compel compliance? Again, the answer is no because all government in America is subordinate to the natural rights articulated in the Bill of Rights and embraced in the Ninth Amendment.
Constitution of the State of Idaho:
Article I, Section 1: INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF MAN. All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.
The inalienable rights articulated in Article I, Section 1 of our state constitution do not include the caveat ‘…subject to the whims and discretion or approval of Governor Little or Mayor Lambert or any other petty functionary…’.
Indeed it is We the People who are in absolute control of how we enjoy and defend life and liberty; acquire, possess and protect property; pursue happiness and secure safety – within the rights drawn around us by the equal rights of our fellow citizens.
Article I, Section 10: RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY. The people shall have the right to assemble in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good; to instruct their representatives, and to petition the legislature for the redress of grievances.
We have the articulated, enumerated, natural rights to leave our homes and go where we wish, join with others, and so forth. Again, there is no caveat in Article I, Section 10 that limits these rights by proclamation, executive order, or ordinance.
Law Enforcement Officers must not be automatons who blindly enforce every order put forth by their superiors. Indeed, it is the highest duty and obligation of every member of the law enforcement community to defend the citizens from unconstitutional, unlawful and immoral demands. This responsibility is with every officer, every moment – it is a betrayal of trust and the oath to simply enforce illegitimate orders and ‘…let the courts work it out…’.
Chief Fry must immediately refuse to carry out any more enforcement of City Hall’s unconstitutional mandates and protect his police officers from further violating their oaths to the US and Idaho Constitutions.
Should the Chief refuse to cease and desist the oath breaking on his watch, we urge Sheriff Skiles to reconsider his position regarding the abuses of liberty taking place in his county at the hands of local police, politicians, and bureaucrats in Moscow.
People’s inalienable rights are being violated egregiously, in your county. You, Sheriff Skiles, were elected, you were chosen and selected, to protect them all. Force City Hall in Moscow to stand down from the violations of their oaths to their residents – your residents.
If they refuse - arrest them.