I will not say I told you so for fear of coming off as ungracious, but Coyote has no such compunction:
I could find about a thousand far more sympathetic examples of folks screwed over by government land use regulations — e.g. people whose puddle in the backyard is suddenly a wetlands that they can’t build on. But for some reason Conservatives all rushed to pile on this one example. Stupid.
Only a thousand?
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.
Ted Frank, who formerly blogged in this space, wrote this which I thought worth passing on:
I hate to see how many on my side who are upset at Obama’s violation of the Rule of Law cheer the Bundys’ criminal contempt of a court order. The Bundys are claiming a right to graze upon federal lands without paying or consent of the landowner on the grounds that the federal government has no sovereignty over Nevada. The US BLM has taken twenty years and multiple court proceedings to kick them out, winning twice in the Ninth Circuit. In response, armed militias showed up this week to defend the Bundys, who have threatened range war. The government has temporarily caved to avoid the possibility of armed confrontation. This really isn’t a close question, and threatens to tar all small-government and Second Amendment supporters.
It has been objected that ownership of vast tracts of the American West by the federal Bureau of Land Management is a very bad idea, might have appalled many Framers and early legislators, and has been advanced into our own era through aggressive policies to curtail the participation of private users. I’m having trouble seeing the relevance of all this, however, to Bundy’s supposed right to defy multiple court orders. The federal government should not be in many different lines of business that it currently is in, but that doesn’t create a right of individual citizens to occupy federal installations for personal economic benefit despite court orders directed against them to the contrary.
Ted also calls our attention to this article by Logan Churchwell and Brandon Darby on the 20-year history of the controversy and the positions advanced by rancher Cliven Bundy to justify contempt of the court orders:
“I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada,” Bundy recently told a radio reporter. “…I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But, I don’t recognize the United States Government as even existing.”
More: A different emphasis from John Hinderaker (arguing for sympathy with Bundy while conceding the meritlessness of his legal position) and Kevin Williamson.
“A bill that would allow patients addicted to prescription drugs to sue the doctors who prescribed the medication — and the drug’s makers — was met with stiff opposition Wednesday in a Nevada legislative hearing.” Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who introduced SB 75, defended the measure: “They know the person can get addicted to the drug so they should pay for the process of them getting off it.” [AP; related effort to use drug-dealer-liability laws] (& White Coat)
You really do need to be careful what you say about the casino magnate and political donor. Why? Among those in a position to explain (earlier coverage) is Las Vegas newspaper columnist John Smith, who wrote about Adelson in a book, was sued, and after years of litigation managed to get a judge to dismiss the action, though not before declaring bankruptcy. Alison Frankel has details of that and other Adelson legal adventures [Reuters]
Some stories just seem destined for this site, including this one about a woman whose legal complaint alleges that “her ex-husband met her after she was hired to work at McDonald’s and later pushed her into prostitution in Nevada.” [Courthouse News, NY Daily News]
“A Las Vegas lawyer who once ran a courthouse restaurant has pleaded guilty in a scheme to take $3,000 in kickbacks to rig two condo board elections in Nevada.” The takeover of the condo boards, advanced by methods that included stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballots, made it possible to bring in a favored law firm to file construction-defect suits. “Federal prosecutors claim conspirators used straw buyers to buy properties in about a dozen condo communities from 2003 to 2009 and helped them win control of condo boards, AP says.” A wider investigation continues whose targets allegedly include judges. [ABA Journal]