Florida Today Slings Mud At Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

There are times in life when people have to defend those they feel are not good people from attacks of other people that are not good.

One of those times is now.

Reporter Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon wrote what is essentially a hit piece on Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey entitled “‘Constitutional Sheriff’ Wayne Ivey says he’s a patriot. Others see something more menacing.”

We want to be clear here. We have problems with Ivey because he and sometimes his deputies do not uphold the Federal and Florida Constitution enough – not that he is disavowing the Constitutions altogether or thinks that he is above the Constitutions.

Marazzi’s piece is mostly about alleged associations that Ivey has had or continues to have. We agree that some of the people that have endorsed him for the Office of Sheriff are nuts, but we have always maintained that a person cannot control who endorses them.

Famously, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke gave a weak “endorsement” to George Bush when running for president and the media went ballistic. When Duke “endorsed” Barack Obama, the media was silent and when questions, Obama said he can’t control who supports him.

David Duke, former KKK grand wizard and current white nationalist, has crept back into headlines for his pseudo-endorsement of Donald Trump.

Media outlets pressured Trump, at first unsuccessfully, to disavow the “endorsement” that was made on the David Duke Radio Program. Trump first said he would have to research who Duke and his group were before disavowing, then blamed a faulty earpiece, before finally disavowing multiple times.

As a result of the hesitancy, he has been attacked multiple times by different media personalities as well as rival Democrats and members of his own party.

However, a newly surfaced NPR interview with David Duke from 2008 indicates that there may be a double standard at work.

That’s because David Duke — yes, the same David Duke — “endorsed” President Obama in 2008, and no one ever asked him to disavow.

Ivey is a supporter of the “Constitutional Sheriffs” movement, which basically is a group that says they will uphold their oath of office in serving and protecting the people and the Constitution of the United States.

Marazzi seems to have a problem with that as he writes:

On Jan. 18, 2021, just days before Joe Biden was sworn in as president and less than two weeks after the Capitol riot, Sheriff Wayne Ivey penned a column for Space Coast Daily in which he declared: “Serving as a Constitutional Sheriff means standing strong in defense of our citizens, our cops and our Constitution.”

Ivey had just won his third term as sheriff and was writing to inform people against the backdrop of the chaos 12 days earlier that he had decided to change the name of his “Re-Elect Wayne Ivey” Facebook page to “Constitutional Sheriff Wayne Ivey American Patriot.”

Ivey said he made the move because in 2013 while being sworn in as sheriff of Brevard County for the first time, he took an oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. “In doing so I made a commitment to serve as the first and last line of defense for our citizens, essentially to serve as a ‘Constitutional Sheriff’ that is unwavering in the protection of our rights and freedoms.”

Once again, how dare we have a Sheriff that protects citizens and the Constitutions.

Marazzi continues:

Ivey is one of at least five Florida sheriffs with overt ties to the Constitutional Sheriffs movement. A foundational belief of the movement is the notion that sheriffs stand above the courts, above the president of United States and other authorities in interpreting the meaning of the many provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Simply put, they say, sheriffs are the ultimate authority on what is and what is not constitutional, allowing them to interpret and implement the law as they see fit.

And Marazzi’s evidence of this?

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, or CSPOA, spells out this tenet on its website. “The law enforcement powers held by the sheriff supersede those of any agent, officer, elected official or employee from any level of government when in the jurisdiction of the county,” it says.

The quote is a bit out of context:

Society seems to be polarized into two camps. One loves the police, and the other hates us. It may be partially due to the fact that some peace officers, and some training modules seem to foster the belief that we are somehow “better” than the people we serve.

This can lead to a “badge heavy” attitude, and sometimes to the excessive use of force. This must not continue. We must eliminate any training or behavior that tarnishes the badge, including the “code of silence”.

Making its way to America, the Sheriff held his office as the highest law enforcement officer within that county jurisdiction.

This is very important, considering that most peace officers are “sworn officers”, who take oaths to support the state and U.S. Constitutions. The same oath being sworn by the sheriff when constitutionally elected to office is significant in the fact that he or she is the first line of defense in preserving the Constitutional rights of a citizen.

When we look at the Office of the Sheriff, combined with the historical powers held by that office, he stands as the upholder, defender, protector and servant to the liberties of the people within the county.

In addition to upholding the law, the sheriff is also charged with upholding the supreme law, the Constitution.

The law enforcement powers held by the sheriff supersede those of any agent, officer, elected official or employee from any level of government when in the jurisdiction of the county. (emphasis ours)

The enforcement of state and local laws fall at the feet of Sheriff’s and their departments.

For example, when a warrant is issued by a judge prior to or in a trial, the judge doesn’t remove his robe and head out the door to serve the warrant. Sheriffs are tasked to do that. When a legislature writes and passes a bill which is signed into law, it is not the legislature or the governor that arrests people for violating that law. Sheriffs do that.

Everyone has a role in the law – legislative bodies write laws, governors sign them, and Sheriff’s enforce them.

The checks and balances along the way are complex as far as the inner workings of laws, but in the end, Sheriffs (and local police where the Sheriff does not have jurisdiction) are the ones that enforce the law.

Part of that enforcement is that Sheriffs do not swear an oath to the governor. They do not swear an oath to judges. They do not swear an oath to the legislature or legislators.

Law enforcement in the form of people like Sheriff Ivey swear an oath to the Federal and State Constitution.

If a legislative body passes a law that is un-Constitutional, Sheriffs have no duty to enforce that law.


A side note: Mazzari writes:

To support his hypothesis, [Richard Mack who founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association] draws on the Civil War-era legal theories of interposition and nullification. Interposition refers to the right of the states to protect their interests from federal violation deemed by those states to be dangerous or unconstitutional. Nullification is the theory that states can invalidate federal law it considers unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court held that interposition was not a valid legal theory 63 years ago. In Cooper v. Aaron (1958), the court rejected interposition explicitly when invoked to block enforcement of federal law, upholding the principle that the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts alone have the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional, not the states.

These discredited but still embraced principles have become the cornerstone for the CSPOA since its founding in 2011.

Thank you for playing, but no.

Cooper v. Aaron was a case decided after Brown v. Board of Education which was a landmark case that decided equal education for children no matter what their race, and “separate but equal” schools did not meet the Constitutional muster under the 14th Amendment. Under that decision, the Supreme Court mandated schools be desegregated.

Cooper v. Aaron came into being when the State of Arkansas said they would desegregate in 30 months and not immediately as the Supreme Court had ordered.

The Court ruled against the State of Arkansas when saying:

8. The interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment enunciated by this Court in the Brown case is the supreme law of the land, and Art. VI of the Constitution makes it of binding effect on the States “any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” P. 358 U. S. 18.

9. No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his solemn oath to support it.

There was no law that demanded Arkansas desegregate. The US House or Congress had not passed any such law. When Mazzari says that Cooper v. Aaron says that federal law trumps state law in all cases, he is wrong. The Supreme Court decided that Arkansas’ plan was contrary to the Constitution, not a law. If Mazzari wants to argue that federal law supercedes state law, perhaps he should read the 10th Amendment – the one that says powers not enumerated by the US Constitution are left to the states.

If Mazzari and the Florida Today want to argue that Sheriff Ivey has no responsibility to defend the Constitution and the laws of the state and county and should simply bow to the legislature, they may want to go back in time to an opinion piece their once shining star Isabel Rangal wrote about an incident at a press conference where Ivey, County Commissioner Lober, and a citizen was.

We wrote about the incident because it bothered us so much.

The back story is simple:

A person who has attacked Commissioner Lober and attacked Sheriff Ivey went to a press conference. We wrote:

In the case that triggered the article, Democratic operative and thorn in the side of County Commissioner Bryan Lober was removed by Deputy Sheriffs at “press briefing” on March 24, 2020 on the situation of the COVID-19 in Brevard County.

The meeting was filmed and live streamed by the Florida Today and can be seen here.

At roughly 41 minutes into the video, while someone else is at the podium, Lober can be seen in the background pointing, nodding and making a dismissive hand gesture (as in “take them out.”) At that moment, although it is not on camera and nothing can be heard, Burns is being removed from the press conference.

Perhaps Lober wanted to get an early start on being a fool for April 1st, but his actions are way out of line ethically and legally.

Ivey allowed the person to be removed, which is a violation of the Constitution as well as case law. (We discuss all of that in this post.)

Rangal wrote:

But that’s not the point. The point is that government cannot arbitrarily exclude people from a briefing in an apparent attempt to retaliate against that’s person’s speech — at least not from a news conference that:

  • Was announced to at least the 18,000 people who subscribe to the county’s news releases, according to county spokesman Don Walker. The news release didn’t specify who was allowed there or not.
  • Did not have an approved list of attendees, unlike with briefings (i.e. in the White House) where there’s limited space or a background screening is required.
  • Did not have any requirements that you show proof you are with a “legitimate” news outlet.

Rangal was right, but when asked why the person was removed, the Sheriff’s office replied:

In response to your email, I would advise you that we do take direction from the County Commission as required by statute. We are required to execute all orders of the board of county commissioners, as well as many other statutory requirements. So, in essence yes, the board does have the authority to have you removed from the meeting and no, there is not a requirement for an investigation to determine if the request is lawful.

So on one hand, you had Florida Today reporter Rangal saying the government could not remove the person from the meeting because of the State and Federal Constitution, and yet Florida Today reporter Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon is writing that the Sheriff has to follow the direction of legislators and “laws” even if those laws and orders are unConstitutional.

Maybe the Florida Today was so busy slinging mud they forgot what they had written previously.

We’ll say it again: the problem with Ivey is not his proclaimed allegiance to the Constitution, it is his lack of total allegiance to the Constitution that is the problem.

The Florida Today and Sheriff Wayne Ivey have a feud going on. Both are acting like petulant children with the Florida Today writing hit pieces like Mazzari’s and Ivey refusing to talk to the Florida Today.

In the end, we would prefer that both agree that the citizens of Brevard County are better served without the petty bickering.

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