Cliven and Carol Bundy
Po box 7175
Bunkerville NV 89007

Dave and Marylynn Bundy
Po box 814
Delta UT 84624

Ryan and Angie Bundy
Po box 7557
Bunkerville NV 89007

Ammon and Lisa Bundy

Mel and Briana Bundy

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cliven Bundy: American Patriot or a Stubborn Welfare Cowboy?

I just returned from Bunkerville, Nevada, where I met with Cliven Bundy and his family for two days. I sat at their kitchen table for no less than 12 hours and watched them cry, laugh, and speak with boldness about the cause of liberty. While there, one person commented that “hell is howling with displeasure” that the Bundy’s are willing to stand where so many other freedom-loving Americans refuse. After my visit, it is hard to disagree. Their position is founded in an undeniable passion, but, more than that, it is grounded textually in the U.S. Constitution. In 1788, our Constitution was ratified, and this document contains critical components pertaining to the federal government’s occupation of land. To ignore the language is to ignore the essence of federalism. Article IV, Section 3 outlines that the federal government has exclusive authority over territories and “other Property belonging to the United States.” Given that the Constitution establishes a government of limited authority that is rooted in positive powers, it is important to ask what land would constitute “other property”? Our Constitution tells us. Article I, Section 8 outlines the federal government’s authority for occupying land outside of the nation’s capitol, namely forts, magazines, arsenal, dock-yards, military bases, post offices, etc. Outside of this, the federal government has no constitutional authority to exercise any DEGREE of sovereignty over any state land. More than this, Congress (of the Confederation) passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which solidified the principle of “equal footing” in which newly-admitted states would have the same authority and powers as those which the original 13 states possessed upon ADMISSION. This Ordinance was reaffirmed by Congress in 1789 and would further clarify Article IV, Section 3, which also speaks to the admission of new states. The U.S. Supreme Court reinforced this position in 1845 in the case of Pollard v. Hagan, which included a dispute between the federal government and Alabama, which had been recently admitted into the union. The Court said this: “[I]f an express stipulation had been inserted into the agreement, granting the municipal right of sovereignty and eminent domain to the United States, such stipulation would have been void and inoperative: because the United States have no constitutional authority to exercise municipal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or eminent domain, within the limits of a state or elsewhere, except in the cases in which it was explicitly granted.” (emphasis added) In other words, the federal government cannot assume, and the state cannot agree to give, something that is specifically confined by the Constitution. This is where Cliven Bundy stands on solid ground. When Nevada became a state in 1864, Congress, through the Enabling Act, made clear that Nevada would waive any authority over the land owned by the federal government. And Nevada agreed. However, that is irrelevant because such a provision is in violation of the supreme law of the land. Regardless of what any judge, legislator, executive head, or bureaucratic gray suit say, Congress has absolutely no constitutional authority to establish such conditions that revolve around land ownership and control if statehood is to be granted. Cliven Bundy is unwilling to acknowledge that his cattle are grazing on federal land. Instead, he says that the land belongs to the State of Nevada and his family has acquired grazing and water rights from the state, dating as far back at 1877. We can call Cliven Bundy and his family welfare thugs, leeches, and domestic terrorists, but that doesn’t dispute the notion that he is right in more ways than one. We can get mad, claim he is getting something for nothing, and yell that he needs to pay up, but that anger would be better directed towards the elected representatives who refuse to stand up and enforce the supreme law of the land. My question is simple: Who’s the real coward here? It’s not Cliven Bundy. Instead, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, 63 Nevada legislators, and the seven Clark County Commissioners seem to be the people who are wearing this name tag, and most of them are “howling with displeasure” that they have a citizen in their state who is asking them to do the unthinkable: Defend the U.S. Constitution.

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