Bundy’s beef with BLM is about Federal vs. State ownership of land in Nevada

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Battle of BunkervilleCliven Bundy’s son, Ammon, at the standoff against the BLM — the Battle of Bunkerville.

In his long-standing dispute with the federal government over grazing fees, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy consistently invokes states’ rights as his principle. From Bundy’s blog of April 21, 2012, stating his position:

the State of Nevada owns the lands pursuant to their NRS 321.596 et al statutes (Nevada Public Lands Ownership Act) enacted by Nevada back in the late 1970′s. All the western public lands states adopted this law back when it was called the “Sagebrush Rebellion”. The main component of this law (Public Lands Ownership) has yet to be adjudicated by the courts or by the US Supreme Court. This matter came to the forefront once in the court process and the then Nevada Attorney General filed away this issue by stipulating that the feds owned the public lands in Nevada. The court basically said it had no other choice but to rule in favor of the Feds. (US vs. Nye County). Bundy is following Nevada Law and holds that the 18 year old adverse decision against him that the BLM et al is using does not apply to him because he is not grazing on federal property. The State of Nevada has an obligation to enforce its own law on this matter. Therefore Bundy is not in contempt of any court order since he is not operating on federal property.

Bundy paid grazing fees to the rightful Landlord (Clark County-NV) back in the ’90′s and then they returned that payment to Bundy. […] Bundy still has the county check and he never intended to steal anything and stands ready to pay the rightful Landlord today just like he did back in the ’90′s.

The federal government claims ownership of as much as 80% of the land in the State of Nevada. How did that happen?

Martin Armstrong explains on his global financial markets forecasting site, Armstrong Economics, April 19, 2014:

The current land conflict in Nevada extends back to this event in 1864 and how the territory of Nevada became a state in order to push through a political agenda to create a majority vote. […]

The “law” at the time in 1864 required that for a territory to become a state, the population had to be at least 60,000. At that time, Nevada had only about 40,000 people. So why was Nevada rushed into statehood in violation of the law of the day? When the 1864 Presidential election approached, there were special interests who were seeking to manipulate the elections to ensure Lincoln would win reelection. They needed another Republican congressional delegation that could provide additional votes for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. […] Nevada’s entry would secure both the election [of Lincoln] and the three-fourths majority needed for the Thirteenth Amendment enactment.

The votes at the end of the day demonstrate that they never needed Nevada. Nonetheless, within the provisions of the Statehood Act of March 21, 1864 that brought Nevada into the voting fold, we see the source of the problem today. This Statehood Act retained the ownership of the land as a territory for the federal government. In return for the Statehood that was really against the law, the new state surrendered any right, title, or claim to the unappropriated public lands lying within Nevada. Moreover, this cannot be altered without the consent of the Feds. […]

Republican Ronald Reagan had argued for the turnover of the control of such lands to the state and local authorities back in 1980. Clearly, the surrender of all claims to any land for statehood was illegal under the Constitution. This is no different from Russia seizing Crimea. The Supreme Court actually addressed this issue in Pollard’s Lessee v. Hagan, 44 U.S. 212 (1845) when Alabama became a state in 1845.[…]

The Pollard decision expressed a statement of constitutional law in dictum making it very clear that the Feds have no claim over the lands in Nevada. The Supreme Court states:

“The United States never held any municipal sovereignty, jurisdiction, or right of soil in and to the territory of which Alabama, or any of the new States, were formed, except for temporary purposes, and to execute the trusts created by the acts of the Virginia and Georgia legislatures, and the deeds of cession executed by them to the United States, and the trust created by the treaty of the 30th April, 1803, with the French Republic ceding Louisiana.”

So in other words, once a territory becomes a state, the Fed must surrender all claims to the land as if it were still just a possession or territory.

Sorry, but to all the left-wing commentators who call Bundy a tax-cheat and an outlaw, be careful of what you speak for the Supreme Court has made it clear in 1845 that the Constitution forbids the federal rangers to be out there to begin with for the Feds could not retain ownership of the territory and simultaneously grant state sovereignty. At the very minimum, it became state land – not federal.


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0 responses to “Bundy’s beef with BLM is about Federal vs. State ownership of land in Nevada

  1. GREAT photo, says a thousand words!

  2. I bet the Indians know how Bundy feels. Coming in and stealing his land.

  3. Nevada (and every OTHER State) needs to follow Utah’s example and re-claim the State’s land,only MORE so. As I hear it,Utah hasn’t pushed to re-claim ALL of Utah’s land,but most of it. WE need to take ALL of our State’s land back. The biggest problem with doing this is that most of the States won’t have the budget to properly maintain what are now the National Parks. (Of course,with the Feds’ overbearing “protection” gone,I’m sure MOST States will be able to find ways to become more prosperous and create the boost to their budgets to handle the Parks.

    • I think some has been written that our national Parks are not even under our jurisdiction these days. Time for Americans to stand with the Bundy and for returning federal land.

  4. Great column, now please send it to OReilly and Hume who are bloviating all over Fox telling how Bundy is in the wrong.
    According to what Bundy’s daughter wrote, after the gr grand father bought the water and grazing rights, paid in full, things were good for decades.
    Then in the 70’s the BLM came for their piece of the pie and and agreement was met and fees were paid with the understanding the fees would be used for the betterment of the land and ranchers. This went along well for several years, then the BLM basically reneged on the deal, I would call it breaking the contract. The BLM started using the fees against the ranchers and started forcing them out and buying them out. The Bundys are the last out of 53 ranchers. When the BLM offered him a pittance in the value, he refused and the problems started.
    I think the Bundy’s should sue for damage, improvements they did in their dime, keeping the grass cut and fertilizing.
    There are other ranchers in NV now fighting this same battle. In 2011 the BLM took the cattle of an Native American rancher. The 80 plus rancher is now suing and I pray he wins. How much closer to being the rightful owner to that land can you get being an Native American?

  5. Pingback: “In his long-standing dispute with the federal government over grazing fees, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy consistently invokes states’ rights as his principle. “ | Random Candidate

  6. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this important post and for the specific appropriate legal citations that govern this matter. The Nevada Legislature needs to address this at once with a special session at least.

  7. excellent Doc!! 🙂

  8. Pingback: BLM vs. Bundy: Bundy spews "racism" while Reid calls militia “domestic terrorists” |

  9. So he doesn’t recognize the federal government, yet he flies the flag of The United States of America.

    • The US flag’s symbolism hardly embodies the federal government. For some, it represents what millions of Americans fought and died for – our freedoms.

      “The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.” I wouldn’t use ANY of those words to describe the federal government.

  10. See how to make the Feds obey the law. First, watch this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twn96nj0jfw&index=10&list=PLHrkQxgz0mg6kUBciD-HIvTXByqjcIZ-D. Then Listen to the first two audio MP3s on the right side of this page – https://www.myprivateaudio.com/Karl-Lentz.html. Then listen to audios 01 and 02 at the bottom of this page – https://recordings.talkshoe.com/rss127469.xml. Then contact Karl here – https://www.broadmind.org/Contact.html.

  11. Strrictly your opinion and not fact until the US Supreme Court rules on a Nevada claim. Me thinks Nevada hasn’t sued for this as they don’t have a case. In which Bundy doesn’t have a case. Sso it is my belief that BLM land is ALL of the USA citizens land. Pay the rent to the feds.


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