Sheriff candidates consider state, federal Constitutions
EAGLE COUNTY — Today, we pose the following questions to the candidates for the Eagle County sheriff: Both candidates say they will defend the Constitution — what does that mean? Are you saying you are going to defend the Constitution? Or the Second Amendment? Are all the other amendments chopped liver? Federal or state Constitution? If one goes against the other, which do you defend?
Daric Harvey, Democrat
Recent changes in Colorado laws and the state Constitution have caused many to ask what happens when state laws conflict with federal ones. All public servants take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the state of Colorado. Our system is designed to change to represent the will of the people through elected officials who believe in and will act on the wishes of their constituents. I am no different. Whether that is the right to bear arms or the freedom of assembly and speech, or any other inalienable right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, my job is to support and defend them all. As sheriff, I will be proactive to prevent laws that I believe violate Constitutional protections by working with our legislators and impress upon them the importance of passing balanced laws that keep us safe and protect our rights. Should those laws still pass, I will enlist the power of the judiciary to conduct a Constitutional review to protect our rights. As sheriff, I do not have the power to change laws that are enacted by legislators, but I am an integral part of the balance of powers created by our founding fathers. The final piece in the balance of power is the discretion in the enforcement of those laws by the executive branch, which in this case would be me as the sheriff. As your sheriff, I will do everything within my power to protect all of your rights while enforcing the laws that keep you and the ones you love safe.
James van Beek, Republican
Every right granted to the people by our Constitution(s) (U.S. and state) are equal to one another. I do not deem one right above another, so all will be defended. While the Second is one that is more commonly seen and discussed in public and the press and asked of me of late, they are all equal.
The U.S. Constitution trumps all states’ constitutions if they are in conflict; however, the 10th Amendment states very clearly that those rights and authority not granted to the feds under the U.S. Constitution are granted to the states. At times, they may seem in conflict, but until such time that it is reviewed and ruled to be in conflict, then we are obligated to uphold the rights granted by state as well as by U.S.