Cliven Bundy, Cows And The Constitution

Cliven Bundy, is a Nevada rancher standing in defiance of a 2013 federal court order requiring his family to cease and desist cattle grazing on land that their family has used since 1887. Shiree Bundy Cox, daughter to Cliven Bundy explains this background:

“My great grandpa bought the rights to the Bunkerville allotment back in 1887 around there. Then he sold them to my grandpa who then turned them over to my dad in 1972. These men bought and paid for their rights to the range and also built waters, fences and roads to assure the servival (sic) of their cattle, all with their own money, not with tax dollars.”

So what’s the problem? The federal government came into the picture with gifts of plastic beads and promises to “help” the ranchers manage this land. The RANCHERS then paid a fee to the Bureau of Land Management to pay the salaries and keep the department operating under the premise that the BLM would be working to help the ranchers better their usage of the land. But just like all negotiations with government, the money got big and the federal control got even bigger.

Ms. Cox explains:
“[To] to keep the cows from over grazing, came the bureau of land management. They were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which was to be use[d] to pay the BLM wages and to help with repairs and improvements of the ranches. My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve. Instead they began using these money’s (sic) against the ranchers.”

This is not a case of a gray area of personal property vs. federal property. And now we are repeating a history of Kings and Tyrants because we forgot that the federal government has no Constitutional right to own land. Period. The only authority for federal land ownership is through precedent and practice. As a matter of fact, James Madison WARNED us of this very tyranny in 1792:

“I, sir, have always conceived — I believe those who proposed the Constitution conceived — it is still more fully known, and more material to observe, that those who ratified the Constitution conceived — that this is not an indefinite government, deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specified powers – but a limited government, tied down to the specified powers, which explain and define the general terms.”

Our founders went to great pains to create a limited and defined federal government so we would not have to negotiate with Kings. With amazing foresight, Madison explains the consequence of allowing the federal government to turn these “clauses” into defined powers:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their Own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare…”
Madison knew exactly what would happen if we ignored his warnings:

“I venture to declare it as my opinion that, were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.”

Make no mistake, what is happening to Cliven Bundy and his family is the direct fulfillment of Madison’s warnings. We are seeing just what it looks like to “transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.” Madison will, in a few years, identify this type of government as one who will be “transformed” from the “present republican system” into “an absolute, or, at best, mixed monarchy.”(Virginia Assembly Report 1800) What is the greatest indication that this has already occurred? Alexander Hamilton gives us a telltale sign. In Federalist Paper #78 Hamilton warns that if the People allow the federal government to maintain unconstitutional legislative power, we will declare “that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

These are the times we live in. Congress continually creates unconstitutional laws, unconstitutional agencies, and unconstitutional regulation of powers that were to remain in the States. Now, We The People suffer a government that feels it is superior to the People themselves and has the power to rule and reign over them. That, Patriot, is NOT a republic, that is a Kingdom…just as Madison warned.

But don’t worry, the Congressional Research Service has issued a report that says the federal government is perfectly legal in their ownership of land. Rich, isn’t it? That the federal government can tell us what they can and cannot do? I thought we were a government “established among men deriving their just powers from the CONSENT of the GOVERNED.”
In the “Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data” report issued February 8, 2012, the Congressional Research Service, the brain of Congress, declares that they have the RIGHT to own land. But they can only arrive at this conclusion if we are ignorant of the proper limitation of power for the federal government. Madison explains in Federalist Paper 45,

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined… The [federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce… the powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” (emphasis mine)

But the CRS says their right to own land comes from the ability to create States. That is a complete misapplication of this power. There is NOTHING in the Constitution about the federal government seizing land that is already part of a State and controlling it. As a matter of fact, Madison says the EXACT OPPOSITE. This is CLEARLY a power that is “reserved to the several States”. But since they do not have legal authority they will, as mentioned before, cite “practice and precedent” as the source of their power.

The States have been struggling with the federal government over land for a very long time. And the acquiescence of the States to the usurped power, has created the problems in Nevada today. The CRS clearly states the purpose for federal land:

“Federal lands and resources have been important in American history, adding to the strength and stature of the federal government, serving as an attraction and opportunity for settlement and economic development, and providing a source of revenue for schools, transportation, national defense, and other national, state, and local needs.”

And the federal government has added to its strength to the point that the States are no longer the masters over their creation, but the federal government is supreme over the States. Pay close attention to the “results” of ownership of federal lands and resources…”schools, transportation, and other national, state, and local needs.” This is EXACTLY what Madison warned us would happen if we did not prevent the Congress from obtaining unlimited spending and unlimited power.

From the beginning, federal ownership was not supposed to be permanent. But the government never gives up anything once it has control. In 1976 with the enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), Congress decided that all the remaining federal land would remain in federal ownership. No more honoring their “expanded” boundaries, they are going to expand them even further into permanent ownership. This sparked what became known as the Sagebrush Rebellion, an effort to provide state or local control over federal land and management decisions. How did the States choose to fight Congress over the possession of State land? In the federal court system. How do you think this is going to work out? You guessed it. The CRS practically “brags” about it:

“To date, judicial challenges and legislative and executive efforts generally have not resulted in broad changes to the level of federal ownership.”

This is NOT an issue of ranchers and cows. This is NOT about turtles and the environment. It is NOT about missed payment of fees. The feds are going to spend significantly more enforcing the fees, than the loss of the fees themselves. This is NOT about enforcing federal laws. How can cows grazing on land they have been eating from since 1887 be viewed as illegal, and yet the federal government allows illegal aliens to cross borders. Let us not forget, that Congress is trying to change immigration laws to fit the criminals. But when it comes to a man and his cows, we have to enforce this with SWAT teams! Really?

This IS an issue of a federal government completely out of control that acts more like a Kingdom than a republic. The question remains, America, what kind of government do YOU want? A Kingdom or a Republic? The choice is ours, because the powers delegated to this government do come from the consent of the governed. What are you willing to consent to?