Why Maricopa County Matters

Scott Greenfield asks:

It’s grown tedious hearing about, and writing about, the doings of Crazy Joe in Maricopa.  No doubt he has a few more bullets in his gun that will soon whistle through the air.  If there’s no one, from the Governor to the United States Attorney to the indicted Chairman of the Board of Supervisors to the judges to the lawyers to the citizens, with the guts to take him on, then why waste more time or bandwidth on Joe Arpaio?

Fair question.

Here (h/t Geoff Berg of Partisan Gridlock) is the answer: if we let Sheriff Joe eat our cornbread, we’re gonna be ironing his drawers and clipping his toenails. If the voters of Maricopa County are allowed to elect a despot who freely disregards and cows the judicial branch of government, then next year it’ll be Pima County and after that Cochise County and then somewhere in New Mexico or Utah or the wilds of Colorado until eventually it’s next door.

Maricopa County has a full-fledged constitutional crisis that threatens the republican form of government (guaranteed by Article IV Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution) in that county.

Am I exaggerating? Students of the Constitution have always realized that our tripartite government relies on the good will of the executive (which controls the use of violence) and the legislative (which controls the money) to do what the judiciary (which controls bupkus) says.  When the guys with all of the guns stop listening to the guys in black robes, they stop participating in our Constitutionally-formed government and become no better than warlords.

Sheriff Joe is what we get when we leave our form of government, rather than just the people serving us in it, up to the scared white Republicans. His conduct, and his reelections, are proof that the voters of Maricopa County do not love the Constitution. If the sheriff feels free to disregard court orders, what is to stop him and his army from staying on even after the voters get tired of him? Sure, there is a legislative office somewhere (state? county?) that controls his budget right now, but once Warlord Joe has the judiciary under his control, he’ll be able to find money somewhere and tell the legislature to piss off too—they don’t have any guns either.

The mainstream media are paying no attention, and everybody from the voters to the judges in Maricopa County seems to be either effete or complicit. Why should guys like Scott spend any more time or bandwidth on Maricopa County? Because tyranny must be stopped somewhere, and it thrives in darkness.


0 responses to “Why Maricopa County Matters”

  1. There’s a saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” We in the blawgosphere aren’t in a position to take it to the streets, and the only response we’re getting from the locals is that they don’t know to do and they’re afraid of Crazy Joe. There’s a world of trouble out there, with plenty of good folks prepared to do the right thing, even though they would prefer to sit home and watch TV. They need and deserve whatever help we can offer. But we can’t be everything to everyone.

    I would be happy to help the hapless of Maricopa if they are prepared to do something to help themselves. Up to now, there’s been no indication of that. The locals need to take charge of their own lives and seize their homes back from Crazy Joe. They need to stop asking us to do it for them. We’re not the government. We have no army. We surely aren’t God. Just some blawgers. We’ve shined the light on Maricopa, but it’s time for the locals to take responsibility for their own situation.

    • All true, but as long as we keep shining our little light on it, there is at least some hope that someone outside of Maricopa County—like Eric Holder—might notice and do something about it. If we surrender Maricopa County to darkness, tyranny has a permanent beachhead.

        • Mr. Greenfield has said many times that Maricopa county lawyers are not capable of standing up for themselves. I renew my offer to use my well-appointed guest house, my ka-billion airlines miles, and pro hac vice admission for Mr. Greenfield to use when he comes down to show us all how it is done. Or anyone else, for that matter. You could even get in some golf… the guest house is not quite 8 blocks from the nearest course. Weather should be in the high 50s right through Christmas.

  2. What we have heah, is a complete…lack of respect…for the law.

    Despots will always be revered and reviled. We can see the revulsion, the reverence, however, lies in stability and predictability (a la Tito). This is why these idgits remain in power and why their constituents fight so hard to keep them there (the ONLY flashlight in a dark tunnel?)

    I agree with you – we need to keep shining the light on such things and hopefully, like cockroaches, they eventually go hide.

  3. But Mark’s right. I admit that I’ve become obsessed with what’s happening in Maricopa. But I think it’s important to keep at it. Yeah, we’ve shined a light the mainstream media hasn’t picked up. But it doesn’t do to say, “You’ve had your chance. It’s over now. We’re done.”

    More bloggers are raising their voices. I’ve got the local criminal defense lawyers in Toledo raging. It should be put to NACDL (I could post on their listserv, and maybe I’ll start.) Eventually, maybe, some of the mainstream media pick it up.

    The Phoenicians do have to stand up for themselves or, like their namesakes, they’ll end up extinct, but it’ll obviously take more support than they have. They’re fearful and huddled. To abandon them to that is to abandon everyone.

  4. The choice isn’t abandon or enable, Jeff. We can continue doing what we’re doing, but the Phoenicians (I like that) need to join the battle for real.

  5. The latest end run was a Friday afternoon search warrant served upon the company that is the IP provider for Maricopa County. Three times various Arizona courts have denied Arpaio and Thomas access to the Superior Court’s emails. With the Presiding judges both under investigation, and United States Attorney Dennis Burke on the self-congratulatory cocktail circuit, there appears to be no one willing or able to push back against this rending of the Constitution.

    If anyone is interested in querying the Justice Department as to why there has been no action whatsoever in the past two years, I will provide contact information for the Civil Rights Division’s investigator in charge of the Maricopa County Task Force.

    Sarah Stella Lopez
    U.S. Department of Justice
    Special Litigation Section
    (202) 305-0372 (direct)
    (202) 514-4883 (fax)
    [email protected]

  6. Questions from an outsider:

    1. Is it not a “constitutional crisis” when the federal government declines to protect our borders from a stealth invasion?

    2. Aren’t the people accusing Sheriff Arpaio themselves somewhat suspect?

    3. Which constitutional principles is Arpaio threatening? Pink underwear? Living in tents? It’s not clear what you all mean by basic civil rights.

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