Oregon sheriff appointed to US Supreme Court
Sheriff Tim Mueller
1115 SE Jackson St
Albany, OR 97322
Dear Sheriff Mueller,
I am writing to thank you for your recent letter to Vice President Biden, in which you pledge to prevent federal agents from enforcing any new gun regulation or executive order that you deem unconstitutional. Mastering the nuances of constitutional law and personally scrutinizing every federal, state, and local law that comes before you no doubt requires much time and effort. In fact, for lesser beings it is a full-time job. (Those people are called “justices.”) For this reason alone you have my thanks and admiration.
I wholeheartedly agree that we must not allow “the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.” It’s the same reason why we don’t let TSA agents at the airport search us or our bags without a warrant. The actions of criminals cannot justify the limitation of our constitutional rights.
Sadly you are correct when you write that, “In the wake of the recent criminal events, politicians are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by advocating for [new gun] laws[.]” It seems like just yesterday politicians were exploiting the deaths of innocent victims of automobile accidents to advocate for seat belt laws. They truly have no shame. Whether you’re for or against gun control, I think we can all agree that the debate must proceed without reference to the harmful effects of guns. Anything else would be exploitative. At the very least, politicians should not attempt to push through new gun laws while the nation mourns. Respect for the victims of Newtown requires that action is delayed until the nation is too distracted or unmotivated to enact legislation that might prevent future shootings.
I do fear, however, that perhaps your letter does not go far enough. What if — despite your best efforts — residents of Linn County are brought to trial under new gun laws? If you do not trust nine Ivy League-educated justices to decide matters of constitutionality, surely you cannot trust twelve randomly selected jurors to decide matters of guilt and innocence. Perhaps you should consider sending Vice President Biden an addendum to your letter, politely informing him that you reserve the right to decide which (if any) of the residents of Linn County are guilty of violating federal gun laws.
Once again, Sheriff Mueller, I thank you for doing all that you can to ensure the constitutionality of the laws governing the residents of Linn County. It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it. (Again, those people are called “justices.”)
Strom Thurmond Chair of Conservative Thought
University of Cascadia
7641 SW Barbur Blvd
Portland, OR 97219