News outlets in El Dorado County, California, report that a county sheriff has stripped state law enforcement authority from the US Forestry Service.

Sheriff John D’Agostini made the move in response to a high number of complaints coming to his office. He will not go into details about the complaints received, but says he gave the US Forestry Service plenty of opportunity to respond to the complaints.

“The U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.”

The sheriff has sent a letter to the US Forestry Service stating officers will no longer be able to enforce state law in his county.

“The U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.”

CBS 13 in Sacramento contacted a law professor to ask him if the sheriff’s actions are legal.

“Looks to me as though the sheriff can do this,” he said. “They don’t have state powers in the first place, but essentially the sheriff can deputize individuals to have authority in his or her jurisdiction.”

Fact: federal agencies do not have state powers. Due to the Constitution’s structure of dual sovereignty, the feds have no authority to enforce state laws. Furthermore, states cannot be compelled to enforce federal laws.

In 1994, the Tenth Amendment was reaffirmed by the Court when Sheriff Mack and Printz sued the Clinton Administration. The opinion in Mack and Printz v. United States stated, “The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service–and at no cost to itself–the police officers of the 50 States…Federal control of state officers would also have an effect upon the separation and equilibration of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government itself.”

Feds challenge the state authority all the time. FDA agents raid raw milk farmers at gunpoint; DEA agents nab drug dealers; ATF agents steal guns and sells them to cartels across the border; even IRS agents bust in SWAT style and take down tax evaders. All of these agencies are appointed and directed by the federal executive himself. And every single one of these federal agents need state and local help. All of these usurpations originate from the Prohibition era when the 18th Amendment was ratified and the Volstead Act was signed into law.

You’ve seen the cliché a million times on TV (hell we have enough fictional cop shows). The feds come in, trying to act all bad, grabbing  jurisdiction. They do a little rooster dance, and the local cops always back down! It’s garbage straight from Hollywood! Back before the Prohibition era, federal authorities would actually have to come in and ask sheriffs to enforce their federal laws or even state laws in a sheriff’s jurisdiction. But when the 18th Amendment was ratified, it specified that” federal and state governments would have concurrent powers to enforce the ban on intoxicating beverages.” Now the feds assume the states will just enforce any “law” it comes up with. Today, every activity with a black market has a special little federal task force waiting to stop you.

One thing stands in the way: the sheriff! Not all states or counties have one, but the sheriff, an elected official, is usually known as the highest law enforcer of the county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.  The feds may have forgotten authority resides in the sheriff, but not Tenthers.

And just like in El Dorodo County California, sheriffs around the several states are standing up against the feds. There sheriff is one representative with enough spine to say to the feds, you have no authority here. As Sheriff Mack said, “the Constitution gives the federal government the authority to police exactly four areas: treason, piracy, treaty violations and counterfeiting. The other 5,000 they’ve stolen and usurped from state and local authorities. The very people who have promised us they will protect and defend the Constitution are the ones who are destroying it.”


1. Work locally to nullify unconstitutional federal acts.
Model legislation here:

2. Get the book, Our Last Hope, and learn about the moral and philosophical case for nullification

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Tenth Amendment Center

"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."


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