Cliven Bundy and the Nevada Constitution

Posted on April 15, 2014. Filed under: Government | Tags: , |

After watching the standoff in Nevada between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Federal Bureau of Land Management, I continued to dig for information. The BLM suddenly backed off and said they would pursue other options.

As I said before, two Federal courts have ruled against Bundy, but that hasn’t stopped him in his “range war’, nor did it stop militia groups from showing up to defend him.

As usual, a government agency got overzealous and abused a few people, including a pregnant woman and a cancer survivor.

Bundy’s stance it that the land in question is public land, not Federal land.

Well, you know, my cattle is only one issue—that the United States courts has ordered that the government can seize my cattle. But what they have done is seized Nevada statehood, Nevada law, Clark County public land, access to the land, and have seized access to all of the other rights of Clark County people that like to go hunting and fishing. They’ve closed all those things down, and we’re here to protest that action. And we are after freedom. We’re after liberty. That’s what we want.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bundy is seriously ill informed.

Nevada became a State in 1864, as the American Civil War was raging in the east. Nevada created a Constitution that would please Abraham Lincoln. They outlawed slavery, but they also slipped something in there that leaves me scratching my head.

Article I, section 2 of the Nevada constitution:

Purpose of government; paramount allegiance to United States.  All political power is inherent in the people[.] Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair[,] subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.

The emphasis is mine.

So, at least in Nevada, the state constitution requires every citizen of Nevada to become a mindless drone to the Federal government. That certainly explains a lot about Harry Reid.

That the Union is indissoluble is a precedent that has been established by the end of the Civil War. Should it be? The Nevada constitution says all political power is inherent in the people, but then denies the people of the one right that may be more precious than any other. The right to alter or abolish our government. To say that no state can leave the Union makes it sound like the United States is the mafia. Once you are in, there is no going back. How is it possible that those who crafted the constitution of Nevada could handcuff its citizens, and essentially make them slaves to the Federal government?

It is because of this section in the Nevada constitution that, unfortunately, makes Cliven Bundy and all of his followers wrong. Dead wrong. Look back at what Bundy said.

But what they have done is seized Nevada statehood, Nevada law, Clark County public land, access to the land, and have seized access to all of the other rights of Clark County people that like to go hunting and fishing. [emphasis mine]

Bundy has also said that he does not recognize the Federal government, when in fact, it appears that he is required to. The only thing left out is requiring citizens to pay tribute to the government.

It is important to note that this was written two decades before Bundy’s family settled the area. All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion. Bundy is wrong. His followers are wrong.

Map of all Federal lands (click image to enlarge)

Map of all Federal lands (click image to enlarge)

So, the Federal government has not seized Nevada’s statehood. They have not seized Nevada law. Nevada law states that they give the Federal government the power to use armed force to compel obedience. The map to the right shows where all Federal land is located, and the area in dispute is colored in red; Federal land. All of this land was ceded by the states to the Federal government for one reason or another.

The reality is, the land does not belong to Clark County, Nevada. It belongs to the Federal government and is administered by the BLM. Much as I hate to say it, they have the right to do what they want with the land. They have the right to charge grazing fees. Two Federal courts have found this to be true. Either Bundy needs to pony the fees he owes, or he needs to stop with this confrontation. The only people getting hurt are his family and his supporters.

I do not condone what the BLM is doing. I do not condone the acts of force they are using to force compliance.

People have forgotten that our Founding Fathers were all for abolishing government. By the Civil War, fervent Unionists wanted us to surrender to the Federal government.

I’m not saying the government is right, but, contrary to the Nevada Constitution, the people do not have the right to alter or abolish their government. They need to work on amending that.

As I said in my last post, I don’t think the Federal government should own more land than it needs. I do not believe that anything beyond military posts is constitutional. I definitely think that Nevada’s constitution needs to be amended. Until that happens, Bundy’s stand is completely wrong.



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