Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Constitution

by Walter Olson on April 17, 2014

If you imagine that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is some sort of constitutional conservative, Josh Blackman wants to direct your attention to the Property Clause as well as the Supremacy Clause of the (actually existing) U.S. Constitution. He also has some thoughts on the Equal Footing Doctrine (states come into the union on an equal footing to the original 13), and on the rule of law in the context of the alleged right to flout court orders. Earlier here, with many reader comments, and more from Charles C. W. Cooke.

P.S.: Yet more views from Coyote and from Brian Doherty.

{ 2 trackbacks }

The problem with lawyers… — Kayak2U Blog
04.17.14 at 3:24 am
Additional Bundy Ranch thought - Overlawyered
04.24.14 at 11:15 pm

{ 7 comments }

1 Charles Melbourne 04.17.14 at 5:53 am

Mark Levin explained some of the government’s challenges related to this case I believe on Tuesday.

There are two kinds of government land, one to protect endangered species, which the BLM calls Bundy’s land. However the original finding from 20 years ago is clearly no longer valid, as the desert turtle is thriving. The BLM should reclassify this land (in a sane world).

2 Mannie 04.17.14 at 7:57 am

It’s not so much that it is a solid legal cause. It is a solid emotional cause. The BLM has been driving ranchers off the land for decades. There is a general rage with the gummint, over its high handed interactions with, and violence to Citizens. There is a point at which many people will say “Enough is enough.” At that point, even an unjust cause will serve as casus beli.

Many of the pretexts that we rebelled against England were just that, pretexts. But they focused the rage of the Patriots, and that is what was necessary to achieve The End. If we had a Sam Adams and a Patrick Henry or two, agitating, things could come to a head, quickly.

3 Scott Jacobs 04.17.14 at 3:17 pm

“At that point, even an unjust cause will serve as casus beli”

Then find an unjust cause. The Bundy case isn’t unjust – the man is unhinged.

4 Stewart Peterson 04.17.14 at 11:38 pm

What strikes me most about this whole incident is the reaction of actual constitutional conservatives: they aren’t defending the government. Their prevailing attitude seems to be “let’s watch the morons fight the morons.”

That frightens me. When the system is challenged, and the establishment says “meh,” you get the 60s, basically. It’s not like the people who were actually doing 60s-type things in the 60s weren’t also doing them (or wanting to do them) in the 50s, the 40s, and the 30s – but it came out in the open and went mainstream because those guys stopped getting pushback. They said the system was illegitimate and, eventually, the establishment (while not quite agreeing) said “OK – we no longer have a mandate. Y’all figure it out.” Unfortunately, nobody had a ready-to-go, coherent, new system, and the result was no enforcement.

I’m seeing flashes of 1967. Hope the people pushing against the system these days have a coherent, new one that we can all tolerate…

5 John Fembup 04.18.14 at 12:45 am

Actually, I don’t think Bundy and his friends are constitutional conservatives. I think they are Declaration of Independence radicals:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

6 David 04.18.14 at 2:09 pm

Bundy is a welfare queen, using Federal land to live a lifestyle he otherwise couldn’t afford.

There’s a reason his “supporters” aren’t other ranchers in a similar position, and instead are coming from out of state.

7 Chilidog 04.18.14 at 10:44 pm

The problem is that Bundy forfeited his grazing permit back in 1993 when he stopped paying his fees.

The BLM canceled his permit.
CLark county brought it

The have restricted the land from grazing so that they can develop other habitat closer to Las Vegas.

Bundy will NEVER get his permit back.

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