PoliticsNation | January 25, 2013
>>> for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. for all the americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm . let's do the right thing.
>> more than a month after the shootings at sandy hook elementary, president obama is ramping up the pressure on gun safety . vice president biden went to virginia today, the first stop on a national road trip to push
new gun laws: also, today, the president nominated a new atf dprek tor, byron todd jones . he's one of the 23 executive actions he signed earlier this month. but some republicans vow to block him. arizona sheriff is one of several sheriffs promising to defie the federal government and refusing to obey any new laws. he wrote a letter to the president saying, "i'm writing you this letter today to inform you that any law or regulation created by an executive order , which is contrary to the constitution of the united states of america and what it says shall be deemed as unlawful and shall not be carried out by myself or my office. an officer of the law refusing to carry out the law. interesting. well, joining me now is that arizona sheriff, paul babu. sheriff, thank you first of all for being here tonight.
>> it's my pleasure, reverend al. now you'll defie the law if it violates the constitution, but what gives you the authority to decide if it does that?
>> well, my oath and that i'm the top law enforcement officer of my county. and where we're talking here, and this is what i put in parenthesis, that letter or law that circumvents the ledge slative process. the last time i checked, we live in a republic with democratic principles and you can't just write and sign an executive order , especially in matters of constitutional consequences and infringe upon the rights --
>> but the president ocht united states is in power to give executive orders . like he did today. that's not unconstitutional. my question was what gives you the right. i mean, you're not a supreme court justice , are you?
>> well, my oath actually says, and this is my 20 years in the reserve component , the military, i swore an oet to obey the lawful owners ahead of me. a law, a legislative bodty has to pass, and then the president signs. we all learned that. this is a process. and to think that, es spispecially on an issue, yes u it's emotionally charged. but what i am saying is the president cannot and should not unilaterally say with the wave of the hand this is what we're going to do.
>> first of all, the president has made some proposals to congress. other things he's issued an executive action and certainly, that's within the law. but what i'm saying is that you said you will be the decider of what jou thi what you think is constitutional. if every law enforcement person decided that they tthey'd do what was constitutional, you'd have anarchy.
>> there's 3,000 plus elected sheriffs. i'm the third largest county in arizona . i have to enforce the law. we enforce laws, whether i agree with them or not. but these are not laws.
>> who determines they're not laws? the president by executive order , that is not a law. what i am saying is here, these restrictio restrictions, especially not in our constitution but guaranteed rights and liberties for our second amendment freedoms.
>> tell me how these orders violate constitutional freedom. well, many of these orders, there's 23 as you pointed out.
>> well, grif me one of them.
>> what the president is talking a and now president finestein is embodying, and this is the right approach to talk.
>> well, most americans would agree that yes, we should have background checks. but this idea to think that we're establishing another law or a regultion somehow is going to make america safer.
>> you're not telling me how it violates constitutional law . he appointed the head of the atf by executive order . are you telling me that's unconstitutional?
>> not at all.
>> so you're going to decide what executive order the constitutional right has to do. it's all right with you that he did atf . but it's not all right with you it becomes something you disagree with and you hide behind it's unconstitutional?
>> here's the difference. the most important person in the land is that of private citizsi citizen. when we have guaranteed liberties and freedoms, when the president believes he can infringe upon those rights and opportunities, that's unconstitutional.
>> tell me the executive order u again, i'm asking for the second time, that vie lates that privacy. he doesn't in those 23.
>> why are you writing him of acting like a king and a dictator. you said you defie that you're going to do it. but what i'm asking you, point-blank, to give me an example, you say he didn't do it. so what is the letter about?
>> on the web sielte, he talks about what he plans for legislation.
>> so you're not talking about executive action . you mean if he proposes legislation that is voted by the congress, you're going to defie --
>> in that case.
>> the very laws that the congress may vote on?
>> not at all. that's what i'm encouraging the president to do.
>> you just said he's going to do it. legislation means it goes before the congress. that's what legislation is.
>> here's the thing. what we've seen, and i put this in the letter, as well, and you read, that our experience specifically here in arizona when it came to fast and furious . there's hi pock ra si here. it's not just the mass murders .
>> you're trying to go fast and furious away from the issue. you just admitted that he is proposing legislation, which is the anti-thesis to him being a kings king or dictator. i can only assume that you did this to raise an issue to get some attention. you don't find anything about the executive order to --
>> if that's the route he takes, that would be great.
>> i think -- i think -- i think i agree with that he's going to legislate. and i think that is not what you can call a king or a dictator. i think that is what he's proposed to do. and you've admitted that. so i don't think all of this saying that i am going to defie you amounts to much if you can't tell me what is unconstitutional you're going to defie?
>> well, this is the whole approach he's taken on countless issues. even with the immigration issue. the president, on one day, says
he doesn't have the authority: and a year later, he did exactly what he said he didn't have the authority to do.
>> and you're the sheriff? people actually depend on you to protect them.
>> thank you, again, sheriff.
>> we actually enforce the laws: and you should enforce the laws and not try to interpret the laws. that's what we have judges for. stay ahead --
>> that's what we do.
>> still ahead, mitt romney tells the gop, quote, i'm not going away. holy cow , is that a promise or a threat? [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year.