It looks like Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales is getting the attention he so covets as he runs for Mayor or Congress. Gonzales is even getting “national” attention via FOX News no less. On Tuesday, December 11, his Youe Tube video where he says the Governor’s Health Orders are “unconstitutional”, was a featured story in a Fox News segment along with commentary from a former national public affairs director who applauded the sheriff.
It was on December 19, a defiant Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales on a video proclaims he will not enforce “unconstitutional laws” when it comes to the corona virus pandemic. In the YouTube video, Gonzales said he sympathizes with business owners and houses of worship, and accused politicians of “turning everyday citizens into villains.” Gonzales got the publicity he covets when local news agencies covered the story. Gonzales had this to say:
“I choose to direct this agency’s time and resources to the laws deemed to keep people free of crime. … Overreaching restrictions will harm our community. For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert constitutional rights.”
A link to the YouTube Video is here:
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCMENT?
In the 11 minute YouTube video, Sheriff Gonzales says that he has listened to concerns of “what has been characterized as oppressive lockdown mandates”. He goes on to say that he sympathizes with families, business owners and houses of worship who believe their civil liberties are being compromised.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Spokeswoman Jayme Fuller said in a statement:
“This was intended to be a public service announcement for the people in order to mitigate any fears they were having about their Constitutional rights, which were perceived from various media platforms. … Bernalillo County residents need to hear from the Sheriff that our focus is on combating crime in our county and maintain confidence in the government.”
BCSO Spokesperson Jayme Fuller was asked on what authority the Sheriff was relying on to say the public health orders are unconstitutional and she said:
“The Declaration of Independence and the government’s purpose is to ‘secure’ our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Depriving people from opening their business or breaking up their family functions during Christmas qualifies as a deprivation of each.”
Spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not mince words about the Sheriff’s conduct or video and said that claiming the public health orders infringe on “constitutional rights is a lie”. Spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett further said in statements:
“Public health measures don’t infringe upon anything except the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which is why it’s important that New Mexicans do their part to get through the pandemic by adhering to them and that municipal agencies, including law enforcement, do their part to ensure that their community is being safe. … Every law enforcement agency in the state is empowered to enforce state public health orders, just as they enforce all other state laws.”
“It is deeply disappointing, not to mention directly harmful, that any public official would take any action that undermines the health and safety of their community. … All New Mexicans should agree on the importance of doing anything and everything we can to save lives.”
The link to a related story and quoted source material is here:
STATES AND CITIES CAN ISSUE PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS AND MANDATE IMMUNIZATION
Since 1905, the United States Supreme Court has said repeatedly in rulings that it is constitutional in a public health crisis for the government to require people to do certain things or to prohibit certain things that they normally would not do or could do and even refuse to do. In 1905, during the small pox epidemic, the United State Supreme Court case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws and health care orders. The United States Supreme Court has heard several challenges to these mandates and public health orders and has consistently ruled the mandates are indeed constitutional based on protecting the public health, safety and welfare.
Since 1952, it has also been well settled United States Supreme Court constitutional case law that the legislative branch can give the executive branch the authority to issue executive orders in times of national emergency over private enterprise. In 1952, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952) that the authority to issue executive orders is whatever authority the legislative branch gives to the executive.
In New Mexico, the legislature has enacted two laws authorizing and empowering the Governor, the executive branch, to issue public health orders in time of a public health emergency such as the pandemic. The two statutes enacted are the “Public Health Act” and the “Public Health Emergency Response Act.”
Virtually all the lawsuits filed by private business owners, the Republican Party and those backed by Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce, both in state court and federal court, to set aside the Governor’s health orders as being “unconstitutional” have been thrown out of court and dismissed almost as fast as they have been filed. New Mexico Courts have consistently ruled the the Governor’s public health orders and imposing restrictions, including restricting houses of worship to 25% maximum capacity, are legal and do not violate religious freedoms.
COMMENTARY AND ANLAYSIS
Bernalillo County Sheriff Spokeswoman Jayme Fuller quoting the “Declaration of Independence” as legal authority for the Sheriff’s conduct is downright pathetic. She is showing her ignorance if she really believes it is legal authority. It is the U.S. Constitution and United States Supreme Court rulings interpreting it that are legal authority. Since 1905, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that public health orders are constitutional and do not violate anyone’s constitutional rights.
The video of Sheriff Manny Gonzales saying his office will not enforce the public health orders needs to be called what it is: a government financed paid political announcement to promote his candidacy for Mayor or Congress. You can also call the video “truth decay”.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales acts as if his badge gives him a license to practice law without a license by declaring fully legal public health orders as “unconstitutional”. He is a throwback to law enforcement thinking they are above the law. Sheriff Gonzales is using the exact same inflammatory rhetoric and tactics as right-wing extremist use to set aside the health orders.
Stay tuned for another publicity stunt from Gonzales as he runs for Mayor or Congress and declares no one has to take the vaccines.
Manny Gonzales needs to just stop the pandering, stop his “truth decay”, and stop undermining the public health orders. If not, he should resign as he runs for higher office and let someone who wants the job be appointed by the County Commission.