A man kneels to pray in front of seats cordoned off with caution tape due to the CCP virus at the International Church of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 31, 2020. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Constitutional Rights
Elected commissioners in two Nevada counties declared that the Bill of Rights will be upheld in their jurisdictions, even if it means standing against unconstitutional acts by state and federal authorities.
According to a resolution approved in Elko County on June 2, abuse of the constitutionally protected rights of citizens in Elko and Lander counties will be “dealt with as criminal activity.” Officials in Lander County approved a similar effort.
Under the leadership of constitutionally minded sheriffs and elected commissioners, the two rural counties in Nevada have decided to become “constitutional counties,” where the rights of citizens will be protected from all attacks.
That means local authorities intend to uphold the entire Bill of Rights in those jurisdictions, and that even federal and state officials must comply with the U.S. Constitution when there, they said.
As part of the effort to become a constitutional county, the two county governments also became the first in the country to officially join the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA).
The national organization, made up of sheriffs and other law enforcement officials dedicated to upholding their oaths of office to the U.S. Constitution and their state constitutions, has been training sheriffs about their constitutional role for years.
Countless law enforcement officers from across America are individual members. But before 2021, no county government had ever requested to join as a county, and CSPOA didn’t even have that available as a membership option.
Now there are two that joined in the last month.
Sheriff Mack Speaks
“The people of these counties and their elected officials have had it up to here with unconstitutional dictates and mandates,” retired Sheriff Richard Mack, the founder and chief of CSPOA, told The Epoch Times.
Under the measure, county officials, including sheriffs and deputies, are strictly bound by their oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and protect the rights of constituents—even if that means defying what they view as unconstitutional orders, mandates, decrees, or statutes from state or federal authorities.
The two rural counties in question both overwhelmingly approved the decisions to become official members of CSPOA and warn officials from every level of government to abide by the oath of office.
“The leadership of Elko County is an example to all Nevada and the entire country that tyranny will no longer be acceptable,” Mack said.
He also noted that elected officials in these counties understand they have a duty to protect the liberties of their people against anyone who may seek to undermine them.
For years, Mack has traveled the country educating sheriffs and communities on what he claims is their duty to protect the constitutionally guaranteed liberties of their constituents from efforts to undermine them—even from federal and state governments.
He said that having locally elected officials tell federal and state authorities that the Bill of Rights will be upheld in their jurisdictions helps protect the God-given freedoms that each citizen was born with.
“This is the peaceful and effective solution millions of Americans have been praying for to take back America county by county and state by state,” Mack said.
“These public officials are actually doing something that has been lost in political correctness for a very long time; they are courageously keeping their oaths of office to uphold, defend, and preserve the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Nevada.
“God bless Elko County.”
Mack has challenged the federal government on constitutional matters himself, famously winning a Supreme Court case against the Clinton administration while still serving as a sheriff.
In his landmark 1997 lawsuit against federal gun-control programs, the Supreme Court delivered a major win for proponents of the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment, which reserves all powers not delegated to the U.S. government for the states or the people.
Constitutional scholars have argued that the case was among the most important Supreme Court rulings protecting states’ rights.
Under what has come to be known as the Constitution’s “anti-commandeering doctrine,” the high court’s opinion in Printz v. United States also reiterated that sheriffs aren’t bound to help enforce federal statutes or regulations.
The Elko County Resolution
The resolution adopted by Elko County included language indicating that county officials will protect the rights of all citizens within their jurisdiction, even if it means going against federal or state authorities.
“The people of these United States are, and have a right to be, free and independent, and these rights are derived from the ‘Law of Nature and nature’s God,’” the resolution states, echoing the language of America’s Founders in the Declaration of Independence.
“As such, they must be free from infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, unreasonable searches and seizures, capricious detainments, and every other natural right whether enumerated or not, pursuant to the 9th Amendment.”
The document, approved unanimously by the Elko County Board of Commissioners, also reaffirms the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment protecting states from the federal usurpation of unauthorized powers.
Next, the resolution notes that no federal agency can create policies that supersede the Constitution and that the executive branch of government isn’t authorized to make law under America’s system of government.
The document then goes on to list a variety of “abuses” that “will not be tolerated.”
At the top of the list are orders infringing on the rights to freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and other liberties guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
Other acts that won’t be tolerated include efforts to register firearms, gun confiscation, violations of privacy or property rights without a warrant, and detainment or arrest without following constitutional procedures.
Commissioner Behind the Effort Speaks Out
Speaking to The Epoch Times, Elko County Commissioner Rex Steninger, who proposed the resolution, called on counties across the United States to take similar actions in defense of the Constitution.
“We need a majority of counties in all the freedom-loving states to join,” Steninger said after his resolution passed unanimously last week.
Right now, “the Swamp controls our federal government” and “our nation is in decline,” he said.
Citing Mack, the Elko County commissioner argued that “the only way to take our country back” is to do it “county by county, sheriff by sheriff.”
“My advice to other Americans is that they had better wake up and fight back or we will lose our wonderful country,” Steninger said. “We are slipping quickly from the Republic of our founding into a dictatorship.”
Becoming a “constitutional county” and joining the CSPOA is one way local authorities can resist the escalating abuses, he said.
“I feel joining the CSPOA was needed to signal to our leaders up the ladder that we are tired of their unconstitutional orders and we are not going to obediently follow them anymore,” Steninger said.
According to Steninger, the public has been “overwhelmingly supportive” of the county’s move.
At a meeting last week, the commissioners voted to set up a fund so citizens could voluntarily pay for a patriotic celebration of the effort on June 20. They quickly collected more than what was needed.
“That tells me the citizens of Elko County are eager for some resistance,” he said.
Leaders of Lander County, which approved a similar move last month, have also been receiving a positive response from citizens. All but one of its commissioners voted to join CSPOA and become a constitutional county as well.
In the end, Steninger and other local officials argue that the Constitution must be protected, starting at the local level.
“The Constitution is the framework of our Republic,” he said. “It is what enabled us to rise from a fledgling collection of immigrants into the most powerful nation on Earth in just 150 years – a historical blink of the eye.”
“It was the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution that allowed our citizens to flourish and excel.”
Every elected official swears an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, as well as the constitution of his or her state.
But the pandemic “has really illustrated how far we have fallen,” Steninger said in a public speech supporting the initiative, pointing to what he views as government attacks against even the most basic freedoms.
The First Amendment guarantees the right to freely exercise one’s religion and peacefully assemble—among the most fundamental rights protected in the Constitution.
“Yet governors across the nation told us we could not leave our houses or gather with our friends,” Steninger said. “They told us to close our churches and avoid celebrations for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And most of us obeyed.”
The Fifth Amendment “says we shall not be deprived of our property without the due process of law,” he said. “But the governors ordered us to close our businesses and most obeyed.”
That was a mistake, in Steninger’s estimation.
“We should not have obeyed,” said the commissioner, who is reaching out to other elected officials across the state and encouraging them to follow Elko County’s lead. “We should have revolted.
“Adopting this resolution and joining the CSPOA is a first step in reclaiming our Republic and the God-given rights guaranteed by our Constitution.”
Just the Beginning?
Sheriffs from across Nevada were at the rally held in Lander County in support of becoming constitutional counties.
As the word spreads and citizens across the United States get involved, these two counties are likely just the beginning, Mack told The Epoch Times.
CSPOA Operations Manager Sam Bushman, who worked closely with the county officials on the effort, emphasized to The Epoch Times that this is “a citizens push and partnership with all public officials.”
“It’s important to remember that without the people, these efforts would be for naught,” he said.
“This is a peaceful stand for the rule of law. It’s accountability for all—including and especially those who work for the people and take an oath.”
Bushman said he was already working with other elected officials on the issue.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time.