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Thread: The Federal Government can't own land!?

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    Default The Federal Government can't own land!?

    Here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, the trial of the Bundy’s is finishing up. A verdict is due anytime now.

    As you may recall, Ryan and Ammon Bundy were the guys who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon earlier this year. They did so because they were frustrated with Federal land management policy, particularly on BLM land in Nevada and Utah. To make their point, they occupied Malheur Refuge, and completely trashed it over the course of several weeks.

    Anyway……. They have made the claim that the Federal government has no Constitutional authority to own land. They claim the authority for Federal land ownership is not in the Constitution. And they're not the only group who is making the claim. I find that interpretation to be quite bizarre. Perhaps someone who is familiar with this point-of-view can enlighten me on their argument; because, quite honestly, I don’t understand it.

    I can’t reconcile the current map of the United States with that specific point of view.

    Anyone?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, the trial of the Bundy’s is finishing up. A verdict is due anytime now.

    As you may recall, Ryan and Ammon Bundy were the guys who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon earlier this year. They did so because they were frustrated with Federal land management policy, particularly on BLM land in Nevada and Utah. To make their point, they occupied Malheur Refuge, and completely trashed it over the course of several weeks.

    Anyway……. They have made the claim that the Federal government has no Constitutional authority to own land. They claim the authority for Federal land ownership is not in the Constitution. And they're not the only group who is making the claim. I find that interpretation to be quite bizarre. Perhaps someone who is familiar with this point-of-view can enlighten me on their argument; because, quite honestly, I don’t understand it.

    I can’t reconcile the current map of the United States with that specific point of view.

    Anyone?
    There are people who believe the earth is flat, that the Apollo moon landings were faked, that extra-terrestrial aliens live among us, and any number of other tinfoil hat theories. Is there a logical explanation for bat-scat crazy? Nope.
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    Looks like they beat the rap.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkay View Post
    Looks like they beat the rap.
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    I will give this a shot. These are people who find nothing in the constitution which allows the feds to own and lock up vast tracts of land. Check out your copy of the constitution, its not there. While I disagree (say goodbye to our national parks), these folks are not necessarily crazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, the trial of the Bundy’s is finishing up. A verdict is due anytime now.

    As you may recall, Ryan and Ammon Bundy were the guys who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon earlier this year. They did so because they were frustrated with Federal land management policy, particularly on BLM land in Nevada and Utah. To make their point, they occupied Malheur Refuge, and completely trashed it over the course of several weeks.


    Anyway……. They have made the claim that the Federal government has no Constitutional authority to own land. They claim the authority for Federal land ownership is not in the Constitution. And they're not the only group who is making the claim. I find that interpretation to be quite bizarre. Perhaps someone who is familiar with this point-of-view can enlighten me on their argument; because, quite honestly, I don’t understand it.

    I can’t reconcile the current map of the United States with that specific point of view.

    Anyone?
    Last edited by Mkay; 10-28-2016 at 10:28. Reason: Grammar
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkay View Post
    While I disagree (say goodbye to our national parks), these folks are not necessarily crazy.
    Well, since I'm on the soapbox,.... Not a big deal if we didn't have National Parks. They could be just as well, 'State Parks'. The original intent in this country was to allow States to set up miniature experiments throughout the nation so that US citizens could decide which models were most successful and prosperous.
    The Feds have decided they don't want models to be successful. Feds want control over the minions and successful prosperous States endanger their agenda. If Alaska were allowed to open ANWR and/or make oil recovery easier by the Feds, we would quickly become a wealthy state like it once was. Bottom line... Feds don't want independent people, States, or any kind of self sustainment. The proof is in the pudding.
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    I'm not sure i agree Cod. If National Parks dissolved to state ownership...the terms you used as "successful and prosperous" would be held on a financial scale and not one of lands left undeveloped for the success and prosper of a personal connection to natural landscapes.

    Any time you see land transfers from federal to state hands, development and exploitation ensues, and wildness dissolves. Many things are far more important than money.
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    Larry, the Feds should never have been allowed to take ownership of those lands, as some have suggested Perhaps some States would use their lands in a way U disagree with. But other States may select the same ideas u have about those lands. That's the beauty of diversity in ideas from state to state. Don't like one, move where u do like it.
    States were supposed to be soverighn. It has more advantages than disadvantages. Nothing is perfect of course. But it sure as heck beats what's going on with the Feds and their meddling now. I would think even u would have to agree with that.
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    Thanks for the responses. I appreciate the input.

    I would like to expand on the argument that is based on the Constitution.

    But before I do so, let’s take a quick diversion to the basis for our economic system. Here’s how our economic system works: When I buy something, I own it. Simple enough. If I buy a loaf of bread, I own it. Ditto for a gallon of milk, or a car, or a house or land. If I buy it, I own it. The same economic principles apply to the Federal government. If they buy something, they own it.

    So, back to the discussion. With this in mind, if the Federal government can’t own land, as some folks believe, then the Federal government cannot buy land. Recall, if you buy it, you own it. So if the Federal government cannot buy land, the United States of American can only be the size of the 13 original colonies. No bigger. We won our freedom in the Revolutionary War. We then wrote a Constitution in 1787, which was passed by those same 13 States.

    The Federal government purchased the entire remainder of the country. The Great Lakes region was bought from the French, ditto for the entire InterMountain West with the Louisiana Purchase, the Southwest was bought from Spain, the PNW was bought from England, and Alaska was bought from the Russians. When the Federal government bought these lands, they owned them. That’s the way it works. But if they had no authority to own land, and those land purchases should not have been completed, then who should own 95% of what is now the United States?

    If you believe the Federal government cannot own land, then you must believe the entire western part of what we call the United States would be owned by European nations. And Alaska should still belong to the Russians. But since none of those European nations ever set foot in the western U.S, perhaps those lands rightly belong to the Native Americans who were here looooooong before Europeans or Americans showed up. The Tribes have been saying that for over 100 years.

    So if anyone is arguing the Federal government can’t own land, they must also argue that our country can only be the original 13 colonies (States). I haven’t heard anyone make that argument however. That’s what I don’t understand.

    I can understand the argument that once the Federal government approved the State constitution (of whatever territory is being considered for Statehood), then the Feds should be required to turn over all Federal lands to State ownership. To me, that argument is very understandable. And it has a logical outcome. But in order to make that argument, you must agree that the Federal government CAN buy and own land. But that defeats the original argument that the Federal government cannot own land. So that line of reasoning falls flat, even though I understand it.

    So my confusion remains.

    Lemme stop there to see if anyone can provide clarity. Thanks again.

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    ^^^

    Interesting argument, but I'd like to put out a different point of view.

    There are two main arguments regarding the Federal roll in respect to COTUS. One, is that the Fed only has powers explicitly enumerated by COTUS. Another, is that the Fed has powers up to, but not including restrictions placed on it by the Bill of Rights.

    The defacto truth is that it lies somewhere in the middle.

    The 10th Amendment says:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"


    In it's purist interpretation, the Fed has no right to do anything not explicitly enumerated in COTUS (Article 1, sec 8).

    However, a more lenient interpretation is that the Fed cannot do any of the things not enumerated in Art 1 Sec 8 WITHIN THE STATES, or pertaining to the States.

    Therefore, and argument could be made that the Fed can purchase foreign land, but neither purchase, nor own land within a sovereign State.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    ^^^

    Interesting argument, but I'd like to put out a different point of view.

    There are two main arguments regarding the Federal roll in respect to COTUS. One, is that the Fed only has powers explicitly enumerated by COTUS. Another, is that the Fed has powers up to, but not including restrictions placed on it by the Bill of Rights.

    The defacto truth is that it lies somewhere in the middle.

    The 10th Amendment says:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"


    In it's purist interpretation, the Fed has no right to do anything not explicitly enumerated in COTUS (Article 1, sec 8).

    However, a more lenient interpretation is that the Fed cannot do any of the things not enumerated in Art 1 Sec 8 WITHIN THE STATES, or pertaining to the States.

    Therefore, and argument could be made that the Fed can purchase foreign land, but neither purchase, nor own land within a sovereign State


    Well played! Thank you.

    Lemme follow up on your last sentence. If the Federal government has the authority to purchase foreign lands, then it has the authority to own those lands. So we can dispense with the argument that the Federal government cannot own land. It can. And it does.

    Now, we can agree that once the Federal government has purchased those lands, they have the authority to develop those lands such that they can become future States. Which is exactly what happened. The Federal government bought those lands, and OWNED them for 50+ years before the various States were formed. In each case, the Federal government had to approve the State constitution before the territory became a State. Again, that is exactly what happened. But what also happened is that the Federal government choose to retain some of that land as Federal property rather than giving those lands to the States. The States agreed. And their State Constitution was approved.

    One can argue that when the State constitution was approved, the Feds should have, or are required to, relinquished the lands that it owns, and has owned, for 50+ years in the newly formed State. But I would argue that course of action is not required by the Federal Constitution. Nowhere does it say the Federal government has to give up lands it owns to the State whose Constitution it just approved. If they did so, it would be a policy decision, not a legal requirement. To me, that is the crux of the disagreement. The Federal government made a policy decision to retain lands that it could have given up, but choose not to. And, the States agreed at the time, since that was the price of admission to the Union.

    But again, it is a policy issue, not a legal requirement to retain or relinquish those Federally owned lands. That is exactly the same disagreement we see today. But let's not assume that it's a legal/Constitutional requirement to relinquish Federal lands. It is simply a policy decision not to do so at the time of Statehood.

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    Assuming of course that the Federally owned lands were retained during the statehood process, not relinquished to the state, then taken back through the NPS/ National Monument/ Antiquities Act, etc. processes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Assuming of course that the Federally owned lands were retained during the statehood process, not relinquished to the state, then taken back through the NPS/ National Monument/ Antiquities Act, etc. processes.
    Would it be your position then, that passage of those various acts by Congress was somehow unconstitutional, or that authority set forth within the acts is unconstitutional? Or in the case of the creation of any particular National Park, that Congress acted unconstitutionally in doing so?
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    Coho... I notice u sometimes make assumptions too quickly in your analysis. For instance... U say... (paraphrasing) 'the same economic principles apply to the Fed govt. If they buy something, they own it .'
    The Fed govt is "us", the people. "We" own it.
    As stated earlier, the constitution explicitly states the limits of govt.
    Not meant to denigrate your intentions mind u, just try I got to point out an all too common preconceived problem with citizens views of our system. WE Are govt. When one starts out with the false impression that govt holds rule OVER the people, it immediately taints the view of things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    WE Are govt. When one starts out with the false impression that govt holds rule OVER the people, it immediately taints the view of things.
    Agree wholeheartedly. So, when you say "the Feds" and make reference to "their meddling"... you really mean it to be read "we the people" and "our meddling"?
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    Nope. What I mean is that some beaurocrats are abusing their authority. Kinda like how u imply the same when u defend the Feds for some idiotic thing that one of the peons in govt said or did and just dismissing it as no big deal.


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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    Nope. What I mean is that some beaurocrats are abusing their authority. Kinda like how u imply the same when u defend the Feds for some idiotic thing that one of the peons in govt said or did and just dismissing it as no big deal.
    You will always have individuals inclined to "abuse their authority", as that's human nature. What I chafe at is when someone subjectively perceives or characterizes another as abusing authority and falsely attributes and presents it as an example of "the Feds" having a collective agenda of oppressing the people:
    Feds don't want independent people, States, or any kind of self sustainment. The proof is in the pudding.
    Feds want control over the minions and successful prosperous States endanger their agenda.
    As opposed to the very correct statement you made in post #14:
    The Fed govt is "us", the people. "We" own it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    Coho... I notice u sometimes make assumptions too quickly in your analysis. For instance... U say... (paraphrasing) 'the same economic principles apply to the Fed govt. If they buy something, they own it .'
    The Fed govt is "us", the people. "We" own it.
    As stated earlier, the constitution explicitly states the limits of govt.
    Not meant to denigrate your intentions mind u, just try I got to point out an all too common preconceived problem with citizens views of our system. WE Are govt. When one starts out with the false impression that govt holds rule OVER the people, it immediately taints the view of things.
    Thanks Cod. I don't disagree. In fact, I strongly agree. When the Feds buy something, we own it. The people of the United States own it. The States don't. The local citizens don't. The farmers don't. The corporations don't. WE OWN IT. Everyone of us - the people of the United States. Each and every U.S. citizen. From the folks in Brooklyn, NY or Barrow, AK, and everyplace and every person in between. The Federal government administers that land on behalf of everyone, including future generations yet unborn. Future generations have just a much right to the benefits of those lands as the folks currently inhabiting this planet.

    And the Federal government bureaucrats are given their marching orders by Congress. It is Congress who establishes land management policy in this country. Is Congress part of the Federal government? Yes, of course they are. We elected them to those positions. And it is Congress who can decide the future of Federal lands in this country. If Congress decides to relinquish those lands, it can be done. But that means everyone has a say in the future of our lands through their elected representatives. So it's NOT just the representatives in say, Utah or Nevada or Alaska who can decide how our Federal lands within their State are managed. It's every Congressional representative in the House and the Senate. That is what the Constitution requires.

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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to iofthetaiga again.

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