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Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad… Or Is It?

Chris Rutledge

You do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the state of Connecticut, so long as you continue a citizen thereof; and that you will faithfully discharge, according to law, the duties of the office of {State Representative or State Senator} to the best of your abilities; so help you God.

This is the oath of office taken by each Connecticut State Representative and Senator upon assuming their elected roll.  Three residents of Enfield swore to this oath on the 9th of January.  Fortunately for us, two of our elected representatives (Representative Carol Hall and Senator John Kissel) take this pledge to heart.  Representative Tom Arnone’s respect for this oath, on the other hand, is debatable.

The Connecticut House and Senate recently voted on SB992 – The Trust Act: To foster trust between residents and city and state officials and ensure public safety.  Though, the title should be rephrased to read “illegal residents” as the passage of this bill turns Connecticut into a sanctuary state.  You can read the full text of the bill on the Connecticut General Assembly website.  In summary, the bill heavily restricts local and state law enforcement from detaining those in the United States illegally.  In essence, this bill not only severely limits when local law enforcement can share information with federal immigration authorities, but it also prohibits detaining illegal immigrants (due to immigration status) even when they are believed to be a threat to public safety.  As these requirements appear to conflict with federal immigration law, it begs the question why Rep. Arnone would cast a vote in supporting a bill contrary to adherence to his oath of office.

With his vote, perhaps Rep. Arnone is signaling his opposition to other areas of federal and state cooperation.  Perhaps Rep. Arnone doesn’t feel Connecticut needs federal transportation funding.  When it comes to education, maybe he doesn’t think our schools need federal grants to support free and reduced lunch or educational initiatives.  If Rep. Arnone doesn’t feel Connecticut should cooperate with immigration law, perhaps he doesn’t think we should cooperate with other federal law enforcement agencies during times of crisis.  Does this sound ludicrous?  Absolutely.  Though, so does picking and choosing when one decides to take their oath of office seriously.

We are a nation of laws and the rule of law should be supreme.  The Constitution of the United States is the highest law of the land.  Under Article I, Section 8, it is the responsibility of Congress to establish the process by which immigrants become citizens.  And federal law is clear in admonishing illegal immigration.  When a state and federal law conflict, the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution (Article VI, Paragraph 2) states Federal Law takes precedence.  By passing this Trust Act, Rep. Arnone and his Democrat brethren in the State Legislature appear to put State and Federal law in conflict.  In doing so, aren’t they abdicating their promise to support the Constitution of the United States?  Fortunately, two of our three elected representatives (Rep. Hall and Sen. Kissel) take that promise seriously.  And as the song says, two out of three ain’t bad.  But it should be there out of three.

Written By Chris Rutledge
Previously published in the Enfield Press
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