Gary Raney: The Slave-Catching Sheriff of Ada County, Idaho

by Will

Will Grigg’s Liberty Minute

January 25, 2013

In 1854, a US marshal named James Batchelder was killed in Boston. Batchelder’s name is inscribed on the “Officer Down” memorial, which honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

As it happens, Batchelder was enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act by arresting a young man who had fled to Boston from Virginia. Although that measure was properly enacted by Congress, many cities – including Boston – nullified it in order to protect the rights of people who had escaped from slavery.

If Idaho had been part of the Union in 1854, and Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney had been in office, Sheriff Raney would have eagerly enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. At least, he would do so if he were faithful to the principles he expressed in a January 25 Idaho Statesman op-ed column.

Unlike other sheriffs who have pledged not to enforce unconstitutional federal gun laws, Sheriff Raney insists that the Constitution’s “supremacy clause” dictates that he set aside his personal convictions and enforce whatever legislation is enacted by the Congress as “the law of the land.”

According to Raney, “my oath requires me to uphold the laws that are passed by our federal and state representatives.” Slave-catchers like James Batchelder would have agreed with him.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

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