Commissioner wants to make Collier County a Bill of Rights sanctuary

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Collier County Commissioner Chris Hall is proposing to establish Collier County as a Bill of Rights sanctuary.

A previous similar ordinance has been struck down before, but some commissioners are ready to fight for it again.

“I’m bringing this up because in case things ever twist off in Washington, DC, in case things ever twist off, God forbid, in Tallahassee, we’re going to have a sheriff that’s going to back up and honor the Bill of Rights that were given to us in the Constitution of the United States of America,” Hall said during the county commission meeting. “We’re going to have the right to bear arms, we’re gonna have the right for due process of law.”

A similar proposal failed in 2021, but that was before Hall was elected.

Hall’s plans weren’t on the agenda, but many people showed up to the Tuesday meeting to voice their opposition.

“It has been rejected,” said one person who spoke out. “It’s been fully argued.”

The proposed ordinance says: “Collier County has the right to be free from the commanding hand of the federal government and has the right to refuse to cooperate with federal government officials in response to unconstitutional federal government measures and to proclaim a “Bill of Rights” sanctuary.”

“Why waste time on a proposal that’s clearly illegal, will create many serious problems and is inherently unnecessary,” one Collier County resident said.

WINK News spoke with Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida for some insight.

“We have something in this country called National Supremacy, right? So, if the Federal Government does pass a law on something – state and local officials can’t just disregard it. Right? They can’t just say, ‘Oh, we don’t, we don’t agree.’ Now, again, does that mean that at the local level, they have to use local resources to do something that’s strictly a federal responsibility? No, they certainly do not,” said Professor Jewett.

In the United States, the Federal Government has powers outlined in the Constitution, including the ability to make laws that apply to the whole country.

Furthermore, as Jewett noted, the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution states that federal law is the highest law. If a county or local government disagrees with federal law, it can challenge it in court. However, they can’t ignore the law or say it’s unconstitutional alone.

This time it’ll be taken up in August, and Commissioner Hall said he’s well prepared for the negative feedback he expects to hear leading up to the discussion.

Click here to see the complete ordinance.

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