If you read the story of the armed protesters in Burns, Oregon, you may well get the impression that these people are a bunch of cranks and that the locals don’t want them there.
Both impressions are false. An eye witness account by a patriot who knows the key protesters shows that the locals welcome the intervention in the refuge. Here is that account:
Now if they were cranks, then their demands would not be compatible with the Constitution. But in fact, the Constitution supports the protesters, not the federal government. Under the Constitution, the federal government may not own the land that is being disputed in Burns, Oregon. The feds are strictly limited by the Constitution.
Those few reasons that the federal government can own land in the States are clearly spelled out in Article V, Section 3, Clause 2, to whit:
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.
Note that the list of reasons the fed can own certain land are not just examples. They are specific and concrete. Nowhere in the above clause do we find the words “such as” or “for example.” Therefore, the creation and administration of wildlife refuges are the purview of the states and local governments, not the federal government.
Now some have contended that the federal government itself purchased most of the land in the Western states and that this fact gives them more rights than those enumerated in the Constitution.
However, the US government may have the right to create states out of this purchased land, but it can only purchase land, not people. The people have equal rights as clearly spelled out in the Constitution:
- Amendment XIV
- Section 1.
- … No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Naturally, federal government advocates will argue that this amendment only applies to states and state laws. However, the federal government is a collection of all the states and any law that applies to the states must also apply to the federal government by extension.
After all, the rationale and purpose of the above-cited clause was that all US citizens are to enjoy equal rights and privileges. It would be absurd for the Constitution to forbid the states to deny equality while allowing the federal government to do so.
Therefore the US government cannot create a legal situation where the people of the Eastern states have significantly more rights to land ownership or use than residents of other states. Yet in the West, the US government claims huge percentages of the state lands while in the East, the amount of state land owned by the feds is limited (although in both cases, most of the land is not lawfully owned by the federal government). Here is an article that describes the situation very well: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/federal-land-ownership/422637/
This situation creates an un-Constitutional inequality between Eastern states and Western states, giving the residents of Eastern states much more control and ownership of their land than the residents of the Western states.
The above rationales must be added to our arsenal of arguments as we seek to dislodge the US government from the Western states and elsewhere where it has encroached unlawfully.
Further, we may not allow the Supreme Court to rule on this issue because that body is an extension of the un-Constitutional central government that we are seeking to free ourselves from. This represents a conflict of interests. The federal courts will inevitably side with the federal government. This makes it crucial for groups like the Pacific Patriot Network to keep up the pressure on the feds. The feds may not be allowed to participate in the negotiations in this case. These are the purview only of the state and local governments.
State and local officials who side with the feds are acting in contravention of the Constitution, have no place at the table and must be denied the right to participate in the discussion.
That is the only way we will get our states back. The protesters are right in refusing to negotiate with the federal government encroaching on local and state land.
© Donald Hank