Richard Mack first came to national attention when, as sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., he successfully brought the lawsuit Mack v. United States (re-named Printz v. United States, when Mack's suit was joined with that of Sheriff Jay Printz of Montana), arguing Congress had no legitimate power to order local law enforcement to conduct background checks under the 1993 Brady bill, the "Handgun Violence Prevention Act."
Mack and Printz won a significant Supreme Court victory for states' rights and limits on federal power, though many now argue the decision had little practical effect, since most police agencies seem pleased as punch to earn a profit charging law-abiding citizens to submit to fingerprinting and other indignities to be licensed to exercise what was previously considered their "right" to keep and bear arms.
Sheriff Mack, a Utah native who's now running for Congress in Texas, also serves on the board of Oath Keepers, an outfit supporting officers who vow to keep their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, even when ordered to do otherwise. (God bless 'em.)
Best of all, I've never known Richie Mack to put on any airs.
Mack is one of the organizers of an all-day event -- not open to the public -- on the proper role of county sheriffs under America's scheme of "dual sovereignty," to be held for sheriffs and other top law enforcement officers in Las Vegas on Monday. Among the presenters will be former IRS special agent Joe Banister, who was told by the IRS to pack his things and get out when he asked why he and his cohorts weren't regularly reading their Miranda rights to taxpayers before asking them to provide information that could be used against them in court.
Former Libertarian presidential candidate and constitutional expert Michael Badnarik is also expected.
But while Monday's events are open to law enforcement only, the group has scheduled an open-to-the-public Las Vegas event from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday on "the proper role of the sheriff" at the Tuscany, 255 E. Flamingo Road.
Presenters at the public shindig will include Sheriff Mack himself, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America (who promises to address gun-running crimes committed by the Obama Justice Department under the rubric of "Fast and Furious"), and sheriffs Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., and Bradley D. Rogers of Elkhart County, Ind.
Libertarian historian and economist Thomas Woods, author of the 2009 book "Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse," and the more recent "Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse" (now there's an optimist) is scheduled to speak on state supremacy and nullification at a closed, Monday banquet. Unfortunately, it appears neither Mr. Woods nor Mr. Banister will be present Tuesday.
Behind all the smoke screens about whether the Keystone XL pipeline jobs now blocked again by President Obama would be "temporary" or "permanent" (It seems to me the Obama administration got all excited about borrowing and taxing to fund home weatherization jobs -- which would be far from permanent, even if they actually existed), let us lock eyes with the gorilla in the room: If his administration is "focusing like a laser" on jobs, it appears to be the kind of laser that vaporizes whatever you point it at.
Obama and the far-left dwarves with whom he has stacked his Cabinet embrace the nihilist mythology and/or aim to buy the votes of green lunatics who believe the shale fracture technology used to extract Canadian tar-sands oil will produce dreaded greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide, necessary to life on Earth). These gases will supposedly fry the planet, even though the globe has not substantially warmed since 1997 and mankind's contribution to global warming is so minimal that nothing short of the eradication of our species is likely to affect global temperatures by as much as a single degree -- even if the Indians and Chinese were on board with this "let-them-shiver-in-the-dark" lunacy, which they're not.
National Public Radio (or is it now "American Public Media"?) brings us endlessly repeated droning programs asking whether Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is an evil capitalist, while their investigative teams evince a complete lack of interest in the fact that the current president learned his economics (by his own published declaration) at the knee of communist Frank Marshal Davis, and started his political career in the living room of former Weather Underground member William Ayers, who told The New York Times in September 2001, "I don't regret setting bombs. ... I feel we didn't do enough." (I believe he lost a perfectly good girlfriend that way.)
Obama won his elections in Illinois, not on the issues, but by disqualifying his opponents, and he spent an inordinate amount of time in Springfield voting "present." Now he's clearly intent on destroying our free-market economy. That's not worth a look?
You do realize Mr. Obama circumvented bankruptcy law to allow his union pals to end up with a big share of Government Motors, right?
You do realize oil production on the public lands is down 40 percent since this gang moved in (per both Bloomberg and The Heritage Foundation), while new offshore drilling permits are essentially at zero? And this in the very decade when new oil, coal and gas fields adequate to keep us well-supplied for centuries have been newly discovered, on this continent.
Gasoline prices should be tumbling.
The absurd diversion of vast funds into unworkable green energy schemes will not merely cause electric bills to skyrocket -- crippling our recovery -- but will take years to recover from, even after sanity is restored.
Grill the GOP hopefuls, by all means. But the issues above aren't worth as much investigative energy as Newt Gingrich's serial marriages, or the fact that Mitt Romney earned $21 million, paid $3 million in taxes and gave another $3 million to church and charity? Oh, the bounder!
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel "The Black Arrow" and "Send in the Waco Killers." See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.