Commission to consider resolution supporting Constitution

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Former Clovis Mayor David Lansford thinks supporting the Constitution is worth a little redundancy.

That’s why he’s asked Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder to carry forth a resolution at Thursday’s city commission meeting.

Resolution No. 2513-2009, Supporting the Constitution of the United States, has drawn interest on an otherwise light agenda. It asks that the commission, “wholeheartedly embraces the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and unequivocally supports the Constitution of the United States of America.”

That’s a stipulation already outlined in the oath of office for commissioners.

The oath, taken by every newly elected or appointed commissioner, reads “I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution and laws of the State of New Mexico and faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of said office to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

Lansford — who insists he has no current ambitions to seek elected office — said the resolution would give security to residents concerned about their rights.

He said the timing is appropriate given Constitution Week (listed in a proclamation on Thursday’s agenda) and the anniversary Friday of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I understand everybody’s taken an oath of office,” Lansford said. “I don’t see any harm in it.”

The resolution also requests the commission, “emphatically and most specifically supports the First and Second Amendments, and urge all federally elected officials to cease and desist from any effort” to reduce or regulate them.

Crowder said Lansford’s message is on point, but didn’t want to articulate Lansford’s position.

“He asked me if I would put it on the agenda,” said Crowder, and after many readings of the resolution, “I told him I would.”

Lansford said the first two amendments, the rights to free speech and to bear arms, are the most pivotal amendments because they create the foundation for most other amendments.

“Had it not been for First Amendment protection, we may have had a different history,” Lansford said. “I think the First Amendment enabled right-thinking Americans to rise up and say slavery is wrong. Consequently, we abolished slavery through President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.”

The resolution states the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that would “through regulation, taxation or restriction alter the fundamental rights found in the First and Second Amendments.”

Commissioner Bobby Sandoval said he is leaning toward voting against the resolution, citing a lack of specificity on what legislation alters the rights of Americans.

“It speaks in general about what Congress is doing, what our elected officials are doing,” Sandoval said. “But it doesn’t list anything in particular that they’re doing and I haven’t ever had a resolution (of that manner).

“This resolution doesn’t seem to tell us what the resolution wants to say.”

Sandoval declined further elaboration, but intends to share his feelings on the resolution at the meeting.

The Clovis Music Festival starts less than two hours after the meeting, and Thursday’s agenda is otherwise filled with road closures and budget transfers listed on the consent agenda.

The consent agenda is created for the commission to unanimously approve routine agenda items with one vote.