Linn County, Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller says that he won't enforce U.S. laws he deems unconstitutional, specifically laws that meant to reduce gun violence, and that he'll stop federal officials from doing their sworn duty in Linn County as well. That's a threat to democracy which requires a response from the state of Oregon. I'm hopeful that Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will defend the people of Oregon in this matter.
You can read the text of this letter below:
January 15, 2013
The Honorable Ellen Rosenblum
Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-4096
Dear Madam Attorney General:
Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller wrote a letter today to Vice-President Biden in which he explicitly states that as sheriff he will not enforce laws – or allow federal officials to enforce laws in Linn County – that he alone deems to be unconstitutional. Does the making of such a threat by the sheriff in any way violate the law or jeopardize Sheriff Mueller’s standing as a law enforcement official? If so, what recourse do the people of Oregon have short of a recall election in his county?
Sheriff Mueller should know as someone sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States that our government has a system of checks and balances. A local sheriff does not have the authority to determine which laws will be enforced.
I am fortunate to serve as the minister of Sunnyside Church and University Park Church, two Reconciling Congregations in the United Methodist Church, in Portland. The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ, in which I am an ordained minister, are both member denominations of the National Council of Churches. The faith community has long worked to reduce gun violence in America, and I personally applaud President Obama’s commitment to making our nation safer.
In a free nation, I am entitled to my views. Sheriff Mueller is free to express his views. But neither of us is free to break to the law without consequences. Making threats to break potential laws enacted by Congress or by executive order of the president undermines Sheriff Mueller’s authority and our democracy.
Rev. Chuck Currie