Challenging the Pandemic Mandates in North Idaho
by John Poland
As 2020 comes to a close, we celebrate the holidays and the end of a challenging year. Be ready for next year, as our state and local governments issue more shutdown orders and restrictions. It is happening everywhere, even in North Idaho, the core of the Redoubt.
There are currently three different COVID mandates applicable to residents of North Idaho. These come from the following departments:
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, signed by the Governor – Issued November 14, 2020.
◦ Limitations on public gatherings, physical distancing, face coverings in care facilities
Panhandle Health District – Order of the Board of Health, Issued November 19, 2020.
◦ Face covering requirements, some exceptions
Idaho Supreme Court – Limitations on Access to Court Facilities, Issued November 23, 2020.
◦ Face covering requirements, restrictions on entering court facilities – no exceptions
How did we suddenly find ourselves under so many restrictions, from three different agencies? How did the Court gain control over every county courthouse building in the state? North Idaho is starting to remind me of Portland, Oregon.
I went to the Boundary County courthouse last week to find out what the county’s position is on these edicts. At the door, I was met by a man who acted as gatekeeper to prevent people from entering the county offices without a mask. He explained to me that if I wanted to access any of the county offices (including Assessor, Clerk, DMV or Courtroom) that I would need to put on a mask first. I talked with this person for awhile and learned a number of interesting things.
Apparently, the “court monitor” is a new position created in Spring 2020 by the County Commissioners, specifically to enforce the mask mandates. He carries no law enforcement power, but will call police to have anyone refusing to follow the mask mandate thrown out of the building. He is in favor of enforcing whatever edicts are issued from the County, State, or Courts, including restrictions on entering based on mask wearing or even vaccine status, if such orders are ever given. His reasoning was that the government was doing what it could to help save us from the pandemic and that it was our duty to follow their orders.
You can refuse to wear a mask, but you won’t be able to access the county building. What happens when proof of vaccination is required to enter the courthouse? Given the current trend of things and the excitement about all of the new “vaccines” coming out, I think that such an order is coming very soon.
At the moment, one can still get assistance from the County without entering the building. I checked my property tax bill this way, standing outside while the assessor’s office clerk came out to me to give me a receipt for payment that I made by mail. We will see if that service remains available.
I then went to the Sheriff’s Office to ask what their policy was. I was able to talk with a Deputy for several minutes and learned a few more interesting things. No masks were required at the lobby there, which is nice to know.
The Boundary County Sheriff has not taken an official policy stand on these three orders. At the moment, the Sheriff’s Office will respond to a request by the court monitor to throw people out of the courthouse if they refuse to wear a mask. Such an individual could be held in contempt of court and arrested if the presiding judge in court issues such an order. The Boundary County Sheriff would assist in the arrest if called upon to do so. The City of Bonner’s Ferry Police would be called first but I have not talked with them yet. I suspect their position is similar.
Consider what this means for those summoned to appear in court, or to serve on a jury. If you take a stand against the imposition of medical mandates, you can be arrested for failure to appear in court, or you can be arrested for refusing to wear a mask. I am not sure which looks better on your police record but it is worth considering.
Unless a jury is willing to apply nullification, you would be found guilty. An appeal might make it to the Supreme Court, but they are not going to reverse their own decision. The Idaho Supreme Court seems to be in favor of medical tyranny. Boundary County is ready to back them up. They did not just go along with the mask mandates, they actually hired someone to help enforce them.
What are you going to do if (when?) requirements for vaccinations come out? What are you going to do when a “vaccine passport” is required to work, travel, shop, or renew your driver’s license? Think such a thing can’t happen here? It can. We are already halfway down the path toward that, and more.
We should not need to be personally in danger of arrest for defending our rights. Our local leaders need to take the lead in defending our freedoms, especially during a “crisis” when the temptation to usurp them is greatest. Remember, the issue is not the masks – the masks are just a symbol. The issue is whether or not the individual has the right to make his own health decisions.
Our leaders should not be putting the individual into the moral crisis of either going along with unconstitutional mandates or facing arrest. Any official who does so is complicit in tyranny. Right now, we need leadership that we can stand behind and support, because they support us. If they are not willing to do so, then it is time to replace them.
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