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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Above is the oath devised the meet the requirement of Article VI of the United States Constitution, to wit: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; …”

John Morton has an odd view of this oath. The assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggested this month that in light of Arizona’s decision to have state authorities enforce U.S. immigration law, ICE might not process illegal aliens referred to the agency by the Grand Canyon State.

This impelled us to query Howard Bashford, Esq., ICE’s deputy assistant associate counsel sub rosa for selective enforcement.

“Mr. Bashford,” we said, “how is it that ICE may choose to proceed against some lawbreakers within its jurisdiction while declining to proceed against others?”

“Immigration enforcement is a big job,” he said, rapping the polished top of his walnut veneer desk, “a B-I-G job. We have plenty to do in processing the suspects ICE itself apprehends without having to deal with suspects dumped on us under some gimcrack state law.”

“But how can you ignore cases when a state delivers suspects against whom they have provided prima facie evidence of a violation?” we asked. “Hasn’t the state done half your work for you?”

“I don’t speak Latin,” Bashford sighed, leaning back in his leather-upholstered chair, “but I think I get your drift. The fact is, when we get suspects from Arizona, we won’t know whether or not their civil rights have been violated. So it will be best – and most economical – just to let them go.”

“Nevertheless,” we said, “won’t you be choosing not to enforce United States law?”

“I suppose,” he said blithely.

We laid a copy of the oath on Bashford’s pristine, dark-green desk blotter and asked him if he was familiar with it.

The lawyer squinted at the paper for a minute, then said, “Oh, yeah. We all take that oath.”

“Well, doesn’t that solemnly bind you to enforce the law?” we pressed.

“No, no,” Bashford replied. “It binds me to support and defend the Constitution.” I always support and defend the Constitution – solemnly – even when I’m choosing when to enforce a law … or not.”

“But, Mr. Bashford,” we said, “aren’t all federal laws rooted in the Constitution? And in ignoring some of these laws, aren’t you breaking your oath?”

“Look,” he replied sternly, “if ignoring the oath doesn’t bother the president of the United States, it sure isn’t going to bother me.”


This is Memorial Day, and we have no objection to its observance with family gatherings like picnics and backyard barbecues. We would suggest, however, that family leaders call for a pause in festivities at 3 p.m. for the “National Moment of Remembrance,” established by Congress in 2000.

Heads of families can announce that the minute’s pause is intended to remind all of us that the freedom to enjoy this day was bought – and continues to be bought – with the lives of our men and women in uniform. As thanks, that minute seems little enough.


Slow learner alert: Democrats in California’s Legislature have unveiled their plan for dealing with the state’s $20 billion deficit: Raise taxes on consumers and (pregnant pause) go deeper into debt!

The Dems would deny they plan to tax oil consumers, but they do plan to tax that commodity, and such taxes ultimately are paid by consumers, so let us not quibble. The assembly wants to float $8.7 billion bonds – read “debt.” Assembly Speaker John Perez has the chutzpah to suggest the borrowing would help the state’s economy.

He reasons the money would be spent to create jobs. You know, government jobs. Somebody should tell him the appropriate propaganda language would be “create or save” jobs.

Pray the Golden State makes it to the November election.

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