The Mesa County Board of Commissioners are poised to reject a request from the people who have been coming to their Monday board meeting demanding that they declare the county to be a constitutional sanctuary.
The commissioners plan to consider approving a “position statement” Monday saying that they don’t support such an idea.
In their statement, the commissioners say that not only have they already sworn oaths to defend the U.S. and Colorado constitutions, but that the county exists because of those constitutions.
“The power and authority of the Mesa County Board of Commissioners are predicated on this, and such authority is specifically set out in statute,” the statement reads. “The board has no authority or jurisdiction to act outside its prescribed powers. Because the board has limited authority, a constitutional sanctuary county resolution would have no power in preventing the implementation of state or federal rules, laws or regulations.”
For the past two Mondays, dozens of county residents have spoken at the commissioners’ morning meeting denouncing rules and regulations put in place primarily in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as mask orders and social distancing requirements, saying their personal liberties have been violated.
They’ve gone on to acquaint the vaccines that have been developed against the coronavirus as Nazi-like medical experiments, and have threatened holy and civil wars if counties like Mesa don’t declare themselves exempt from state and federal laws.
They also have specifically targeted Democratic Gov. Jared Polis for his executive orders, Mesa County Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr for implementing public health orders, and even Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, for passing rules barring “sham” election audits.
To combat all that, they say by declaring the county a constitutional sanctuary, commissioners won’t have to follow laws or regulations approved at the state or federal level that they deem violate the Bill of Rights.
They point to similar resolutions passed in other counties, including Rio Blanco, as examples the county should follow.
In May, that county’s commissioners passed a “Constitutional Rights Sanctuary County” resolution reiterating their support of the constitutions, saying that executive orders signed by the governor have placed “undue strain” on its residents, and “restricted” its citizens with “lockdowns, curfew limits, and the people’s right to assemble.”
Like the U.S. Constitution when it comes to the president of the United States, the Colorado Constitution gives the governor executive orders powers, particularly during declared public emergencies, such as a global pandemic that has left millions dead.
Rio Blanco’s resolution, however, falls far short of declaring that it won’t obey laws passed at the state or federal levels that it deems violates the rights of county residents.
Instead, it “encourages” county employees to continue to support the federal and state constitutions, and asks governments outside its boundaries to refrain from enacting unconstitutional rules or laws.
The Mesa County commissioners say such resolutions have no power in preventing the implementation of any state or federal law.
On the contrary, their statement says that such a resolution could open the county up to liability if it failed to follow constitutionally approved laws, regulations or orders.
“The unintended consequences of such a resolution could be detrimental to the county, such as the cost and use of taxpayer dollars to defend lawsuits derivative of such a resolution or potential reduction in federal or state funding,” the commissioners’ statement reads.
“The board has full faith in our system of government and believes in our right to seek judicial redress for constitutional violations,” the statement adds. “We fully believe in this oath (of office) and our system of government and feel a constitutional sanctuary county status is contrary to this oath.”