Word from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department indicates that the sheriff is going to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
On July 16, Sheriff Alex Villanueva issued a press release explicitly stating that he will NOT enforce the new mask mandate announced July 15 by LA County officials.
Noting the contradiction between the county's position and those stated by other political parasites, Sheriff Villanueva wrote:
Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance.
All of which is encouraging to see. We can observe a “law enforcement” officer refusing to enforce a bad order.
But one must direct some soft, and well-meant, criticism at Sheriff Villanueva, because, though he is doing the right thing, he is not doing it for the reason most fundamental to his job.
He is not mentioning that he’s motivated by any oath he took to uphold the U.S. and California constitutions, both of which not only do not grant the county the power to mandate that people wear masks or anything else, but which also explicitly prohibit mandates that prevent people from engaging in freedom of contract, worship, property ownership, privacy, and voluntary association.
The bulk of the Bill of Rights prohibits infringements these compulsory demands on residents of any state, territory, or the District of Columbia, and, as I have mentioned before for MRCTV, the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits state-level governments from interfering in the fulfillment of private contract, so if an employer and employee have a work agreement that doesn’t include an agreement for mask-wearing, a political subdivision can’t force a new contract on them.
Villanueva has a sworn oath to uphold those constitutional standards, and, as a result, even IF there were some CDC reason that he could cite as a possible rationale for enforcing the County orders, he would be sworn not to enforce them, because the Constitution of the US and the Constitution of California were what he swore to abide.
A final note in his press release amplifies this problem, and it’s a problem that is worth noting because people so easily can fall into normalcy bias when looking at mandates and regulations and “for your protection” commands that they forget the foundational rules that are being thwarted.
In his notable July 16 release, the Sheriff observed:
We encourage the DPH (Department of Public Health) to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.
This shows that Villaneuva misses the point.
It is not the place of the DPH and the Board of Supervisors and “law enforcement” to “establish mandates,” even if they are supported by “science.”
Because the mandates are unconstitutional, and obviously so. Anyone who wants to take a cursory glance at the Contract Clause, Bill of Rights, and California Constitution can see it.
So, this is a gentle reminder for Sheriff Villanueva – and all Americans who might applaud him without looking more deeply at what he assumes the government has the so-called “power” to do:
Please look more deeply.
Then, sir, after you see that none of this is constitutional, you can go to the next level and see that, even if it were permitted by the purported “rule books” of the U.S. and California, those rules are imposed on us, the average citizens, as well. Only the politicians, military, police, and bureaucrats swear oaths to abide by the Constitution.
The least we who are pushed around can ask is that they keep their word.