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El Paso County Colorado District 49


The rule of law.Sounds like a clichÈ, doesn’t it? Who could be against “the rule of law?” Based on sad experience, just about every decision maker in government, except me. Why? Politicians don’t like laws that exist to limit government and to restrain politicians.Let’s start with Civics 101. The “supreme Law of the Land” is the U.S. Constitution. See Article VI. Next in the list are federal statutes and treaties made pursuant to that Constitution. Then state constitutions, state laws, local laws, and local governmental resolutions, in that order. Nowhere in this simplified hierarchy do you find “opinions” of judges, who are NOT in the legislative branch or legislating business, much less “advice” of attorneys, who also have no honest role in making public policy.El Paso County stands this legal structure on its head. According to board practice, the HIGHEST legal authority is our county attorney, who recently admitted in a public hearing that he had studied constitutional law very little since his second year of law school. Their next HIGHEST law is past county resolutions. Below them, we find state statutes passed by the general assembly, then federal laws, and at the bottom of the heap, the U.S. Constitution.Why is this remarkable? When a county commissioner or most any public official is sworn into office in this state, he or she must publicly pledge before “the ever living God” to obey the federal and state constitutions. Taking that oath is state law. No part of the oath covers obedience to courts or attorneys. Yet, in public policy disputes, it is usually lawyers who dominate discussions and control outcomes. (Remember it was only lawyers who ordered Terry Schiavo to be killed.)Why this default? Because few elected officials have ever bothered to READ the documents they publicly swore to uphold. I find that deception depressing. Their oath is a meaningless ritual, a quaint precondition to getting a paycheck. Attorneys and judges have upended the true priorities, and twisted the rule of law into the rule of lawyers. Close enough for government work, eh?Most elected officials did not go to law school. They feel inadequate to understand, much less join, discussions of legalities. So they delegate fidelity to their sacred oath to lawyers, whom they wrongly appoint as custodians of the law. In fact, constitutions and the rule of law belong to all of us. Each citizen and certainly each elected official has a moral and legal duty to read, understand, and honor them.Today, lazy politicians “feel” that constitutions are unrealistic, vague, cobwebbed documents filled with high-sounding platitudes no longer relevant to present problems. That is their lame rationale for violating their oaths of office. It is also the basis for liberal lies, quoted even by local elected officials, that our written U.S. Constitution is a “living” document which can be “adapted to modern needs” at any time, simply by violating it. People who promote this rot subvert our hard-won legacy of limited government. They are America’s enemies, and unfit for office.Here are three recent county examples of lawlessness. A state statute requires property taxes for all past years must be paid by applicants seeking final approval prior to construction. The board holds a public hearing to grant or deny such approval. Taxes must be paid “at the time of approval by the board of county commissioners.” Yet the board is intentionally violating that law, saying the statute SHOULD say “at the time of recording” the documents, which could be a year later, after other events.In other words, the word “approval” really means “recording” to them, and the state legislature should be ignored. Why? Because that’s the way the county has always done it! In fact, the county passed a resolution allowing it to violate state law, and put that resolution above state law! The county attorney admitted publicly that the statute had a “plain meaning,” the one I am following, but that meaning did not have to be obeyed! Sadly, I am the only commissioner who now honors that state law, and refuses to vote for final approval when back taxes are owed.Second example: Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution specifies the few and limited powers of the federal government. Founding Fathers, like James Madison, known as “The Father of the Constitution,” said repeatedly Congress had only those powers expressly delegated to it. The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states the following:“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”Yet my colleagues vote repeatedly to solicit and accept illegal federal funds (paid for by you and me) for federal programs prohibited by the Constitution. Homeless shelters, gasoline spill prevention, job training, bulletproof vests, aid to state parks, welfare handouts – none of these programs is an authorized federal responsibility.One colleague said he understood my view, but argued if we didn’t take the federal funds, they would go to some other county. Think about that. Translated, it means if we don’t take stolen money and participate in illegality, we won’t get our share of the loot, which would go to someone else aiding and abetting the burglar. This colleague publicly supports “family values.” Do you still wonder why we have a federal deficit, which is routinely decried by local politicians? Addicts will say and do anything to keep getting their fix.My response to him was and remains, “Good! Let others receive stolen property. I will honor Exodus 20: 15, which commands, “Thou shalt not steal.” It doesn’t say “Thou shalt not steal small amounts,” or “Thou shalt not steal unless you’re wearing a suit, or have been elected to office.”In public discussion, the county attorney and a commissioner defended this corrupt conspiracy against the Constitution, actually saying, “There are a lot of lawyers in our nation’s capital. They must have studied this and decided it was legal.” In other words, we should delegate our duty to obey our oath to faceless bureaucrats in D.C. We have replaced the government of the Declaration of Independence, instituted “to secure these rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” with government based on the Communist Manifesto, designed to steal and “redistribute the wealth.” Disgraceful!Last example. County resolutions now limit display of firearms on county property. To “display” means to make visible, even in a holster. The term does not cover “brandishing” or “menacing,” which refers to a hostile act of pointing of a firearm at someone and is properly a violation of state law already. The right to keep and bear (display) arms is guaranteed in the state (Article II, section 13) and federal (Second Amendment) constitutions. That means we must protect this public right on public access property, and rescind county resolutions violating that right. Honoring our oath, we have no choice.Yet the rest of the board has a hard time with this, even though a majority promised in writing to repeal the county resolutions. See Some now suggest the constitution apply only in some public areas (!) so others can remain “gun-free” (i.e. constitution-free) zones, perhaps as a result of a recent poll of county directors and employees. The constitution is subject to no checkerboard application, and to no poll.Some say we must protect the emotional sensitivities of county employees, which outweighs obedience to the plain meaning of both federal and state constitutions.Constitutional rights cannot be balanced away by emotions, feelings, or fears.I posted the federal and state constitutions on my Web site, Resolve to read them; they were written for you. Many people died so that you could live in freedom under their protection. Shouldn’t you know and defend your rights? Don’t you owe America’s fallen heroes at least that much respect?There are thousands of examples of governmental lawlessness. Maybe now you can grasp why political insiders despise and excoriate me. Maybe now you understand why I quit practicing law 25 years ago. I am proud to call myself a “recovering attorney.” I am proud to be “a traitor to his class.”Contact me at (719) 520-6412, by email at, or by writing me at 27 E. Vermijo Ave. Colo. Spgs. CO 80903.YOUR county commissioner,Douglas BruceOn April 21, Douglas Bruce offered the county $1 million for the Atrium Building downtown. The offer was refused!Note: Doug Bruce to hold public meetingCounty Commissioner Douglas Bruce will hold a public meeting on May 7 at 9:45 a.m. at Stetson Hills Police Station. The police station is located on Tutt Boulevard (east on Barnes Road from Powers Boulevard. Commissioner Bruce will report on county issues and listen to constituent comments and suggestions. Questions on any county issue are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

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