MAGA Claremont Institute Honors Sheriff Who Disobeys The Law They Don’t Like

The MAGA think tank on the vanguard of openly pro-Trump intellectuals is recruiting police chiefs with far-right ties and a fetish for the “rule of the law” to serve as academic “researchers” as part of the new program launched by the conservative institute. this week.

The Claremont Institute, a far-right research group that is home to several former Trump administration officials, has announced a new crop consisting of eight “sheriff’s fellows” were selected from across the nation on the basis of “character, aptitude, achievement, enthusiasm, and community reputation” to visit Claremont’s California campus and learn a curriculum of conservative political doctrine. standard.

NS subjects, says Claremont, rather unintelligent — lectures on Locke, the Federal Report, and British legal history — but the Institute’s student selection is much more radical. Of the eight fellows announced this week, six are affiliated with the Constitutional Police Chiefs and Peace Police Association (CSPOA), an organization supported by the Anti-Defamation League and the Law Center. Poverty in the South labeled it an anti-government extremist group. the idea that sheriffs can pick and choose which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs about what the Constitution allows.

In that spirit, members of Claremont’s first sheriff’s case have vowed not to enforce pandemic restrictions, vaccine regulations, gun laws, and essentially any laws they disagree. For far-right groups like the Claremont Institute, attempts to circumvent the law and the will of democratically elected governments are a feature, not a fault.

Devin Burghart, chief executive of the Institute, said: “More and more groups are clinging to the idea of ​​a constitutional sheriff as a way to undermine everything from school board elections to cutting efforts. reduce pandemic restrictions on Biden administration regulations. for Human Rights Research & Education in Washington State. “Claremont is just the most recent example of many of these organizations promoting the idea of ​​constitutional sheriff as a way to gain power at the local level.”

In response to a question from The Daily Beast, a Claremont spokesperson said the institute does not consider affiliation with the CPSOA or the constitutional sheriff movement in its selection of candidates. “We rarely take up institutional positions, and don’t do so here, but it’s a good thing that Sheriffs respect the Constitution,” the spokesperson wrote.

According to Burghart, the constitutional police movement arose in the 1970s and 1980s after the ranch crisis, when plunging prices for land and farm goods plunged rural America into poverty and increased millions of dollars. group of extreme vigilance movements, says Burghart. In the years since, the idea of ​​a “constitutional sheriff” who could override federal law and create an “army” of like-minded civilians has fueled opposition. That resistance developed during times of anti-government, including the militia movement of the 1990s and the Tea Party of the 2010s.

While the constitutional police movement drew its strength from the backlash against gun control measures in the 1990s, the movement’s current focus is on breaking health restrictions. public health COVID-19 – an issue that Claremont’s selected fellows have covered.

For example, Sheriff Mark Lamb is a newly minted sheriff from Arizona’s Pinal County and a favorite of both Fox News writers and former President Trump himself. Sheep, an recognized constitutional sheriff, became a right-wing celebrity when he publicly vowed not to execute Republican Governor Doug Ducey is staying at home under orders in early 2020. Lamb after that test positive for COVID-19 after he was invited to Trump’s White House for a press event with law enforcement but the infection did not change his attitude. He from brought to Fox News announced that he would refuse to enforce any state or federal vaccine authorization.

When then-President Trump pressured Democratic governors to open up their states, many of Lamb’s colleagues in Claremont’s freshman class of sheriffs followed suit with acts of public defiance. . When Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order in April 2020, she received outrage from then-President Trump and a tweet asking residents to “liberate Michigan.”

Neither Lamb nor any of the sheriff’s fellows responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Kim Cole, a Claremont member and sheriff from Mason County, Michigan, who previously signed a CSPOA letter vowing not to enforce any of the Obama administration’s gun control measures, answered the call. He joined with a handful of Michigan sheriffs swear they will not enforce this measure.

Culpeper County, Virginia Sheriff and Claremont’s colleague Scott Jenkins announced a similar response to Trump’s call to “liberate” Virginia under then-Governor Ralph Northam. Jenkins, a speaker at the CSPOA 2020 conference, said in a Facebook post that he would “not trample on our citizens’ constitutional liberties to enforce an executive order” of Northam to close certain businesses.

In the case of Riverside Sheriff and fellow Claremont Chad Bianco, the indifferent attitude to the risks related to COVID-19 has caused dangerous consequences. Like some of his peers, Bianco has made a name for himself through appearances on Fox News and member not only in CSPOA, but in the militia The Oath Keepers are far to the right. In Bianco’s case, his public refusal to enforce COVID-19 precautions spilled over Riverside’s Prison, which has experienced “one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in prison,” according to the ACLU.

While the constitutional sheriffs movement may seem like a handy mirror against evolving vaccine and quarantine rules, its most worrisome call for the right to MAGA could be lies in the possibility of nullifying not only the law but also the election.

In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, a Claremont working group outlined a scenario in a report, “79 Days From Inauguration,” which sounds like a mix of conservative war games and fan fiction. Report, first Reported by The Bulwark, set off a controversial presidential election that ignited a violent uprising in which the sheriff promised to “turn ordinary citizens into propertymen” – analyzed with the volunteers from the far-right Oath-Keepers and the Proud Boys – and together restore order and crack down on “lawlessness.” MAGA Claremont Institute Honors Sheriff Who Disobeys The Law They Don’t Like


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