Category Archives: Law

UPDATED: Rage Against The Machine & For The Rancher

Justice, Law, Liberty, Natural Law, Private Property, Rights, States' Rights, The State

On April 11, we breathed a sigh of relief: “The Tyrant has disbanded, for now. But He’ll be back. Be vigilant, brave Bundys of Bunkerville, Nevada.” Indeed, as Ben Swann of “The Truth In Media Project” (Via divulges, “Sources Inside The BLM and Las Vegas Metro Say Feds Are Planning A Raid On Bundy Home”:

… hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.

Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.

According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.” Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle. …

… Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,” said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877. …


UPDATE: What the statists are saying:

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Clive Bundy ranched in this particular area of Nevada since the 1880s. And he had grazing rights he says that preempts and predates, he says, the federal authority over the land. So when the federal government decided to say that the desert tortoise was endangered and took away, and there you see the tortoise, the BLM, the Bureau of Land Management, took away the grazing rights, Bundy refused to comply, and he lost in court three times. But it started this back and forth that really came to a head this weekend.

Let’s bring in our panel, Tucker Carlson, host of “Fox & Friends Weekend,” A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and Juan Williams, columnist with The Hill. Tucker, it seems like all parties have backed down.

The Bureau of Land Management had this in a statement, “Due to escalating tensions, the cattle have been released” — they were holding the cattle — “from enclosures in order to avoid violence and help restore order. Safety has always been our number one priority and the bureau of land management and national park service appreciates the support of those who called for a peaceful conclusion to the operation.” What about this?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Thanks heaven. It was moving in an ugly direction, and I think the feds exacerbated it by showing up with snarling dogs and drawn weapons. That’s appropriate when you are dealing with a drug cartel, not with an elderly rancher.

On the other hand, the Bundys don’t have a legal case that I can see, to be totally honest about it. And this is public land. This is not land that they own. And if you are going to use public land for profit, you have to pay for it, and they haven’t. And so the bottom line, and I think this is something conservatives ought to remember, if you want a ranch without any impediment at all, you have to buy your own ranch. That is the essence, that is the core principle behind private property which undergirds conservatism. So I have a lot of sympathy for the Bundys. I think they were completely mistreated by the federal government. But I still think it’s important to point out that this land does not belong to them, and that’s not a minor distinction. It’s the essence of private property. Sorry.


A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: It wasn’t that he was denied grazing rights. He refused to pay the grazing fees. So he could have had his cattle grazing on federal land but he refused to pay up to $1 million in grazing feeds.

So the BLM could not have bungled this more by, A, coming in and tasering his son, which then became a viral video. Agents from the BLM also came up behind Cliven Bundy’s sister and knocked her down on the ground. This is something they have been dealing with for 20 years. They knew exactly who would be there protesting with their weapons. They knew how mad everyone would be and how this would escalate. They did not plan well for this.

They have now removed all this cattle and because of raised public concerns, brought the cattle there. They are never getting that cattle off that land. The BLM is out of leverage and it’s been peacefully concluded because they have got nothing left on Mr. Bundy.

BAIER: Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I think what really talking about here is conservative angst over the sense that government has grown too large, too powerful. The government controls huge swaths of the western part of this country. And even local and state officials sometimes have disputes with federal authorities.

But the fact is, as Tucker said, this is public land. And despite his claims going back to the 1880s that his more Mormon forefathers used this land, it is public land. It’s not his land. And even by his own admission he owes the government, maybe not $1 million, but $300,000 that he has not paid.

So the courts have ruled against him three times, as you said, Bret. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on in that regard. But in terms of the larger picture, I think you have to worry about Waco, you have to worry about Ruby Ridge when people start showing up with guns and saying they are willing to take on the federal government.

MORE @ Bret Baier’s Special Report

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UPDATED: Land, Liberty And The Federal Occupier (Naturally, Positive Law Understates Natural-Law Violations)

Individual Rights, Law, libertarianism, Media, Natural Law, Private Property, Regulation, Taxation, The State

Other than Fox New, which probably staved off a Waco-style massacre in its vigilant reporting, US presstitutes have been silent about Cliven Bundy’s heroic confrontation with the federal occupier. Before him came the Hage family, another family of great Americans, whose travails were featured on “Fox News Reporting: Enemies of the State.” What inspiring individualists.

Kudos to Canada Press for “shining truth on government ranch invaders,” and thus broadcasting from the rooftops about one of the most monumental confrontations against federal tyranny to have taken place since Edward Snowden and before him:

Coming clearly through the throbbing of helicopters and the roar of the SUVS of the feds harassing the Cliven Bundy Ranch, patriots there for Bundy should “tell it to the judge”.

There is mainstream media-suppressed case history in Nevada the feds are desperately trying to keep under wraps.

Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada smacked down high-handed, abusive feds, sending the pretend cowboys riding roughshod over Western ranchers and property owners back to their cobweb-laced offices in 2013.

In spite of their 200 armed snipers with boy toys in tow, those Stetson-wearing feds hunkering down on Cliven Bundy’s Ranch are nothing more than a bunch of cowardly ‘cobweb cowboys’ doing duty for radical environmentalists.

In the upheaval of Bureau of Land Management bureaucrats caving in fear to the radical environmentalists of the day, the Rule of Law still works in court, and everyone of those feds brandishing weapons knows it down at heart.

“The court case, U.S. v. Hage, has been keenly watched by legal analysts and constitutional scholars—but has been completely ignored by the major media.”
(New American, June 3, 2013)

“As we reported last November (”Judge Blasts Federal Conspiracy; Ranch Family Vindicated — Again!”), in June 2012, Judge Jones had issued a scorching preliminary bench ruling that charged federal officials of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with an ongoing series of illegal actions against Nevada rancher E. Wayne Hage that the judge described as “abhorrent” and a literal, criminal conspiracy.??“Judge Jones said he found that “the government and the agents of the government in that locale, sometime in the ’70s and ’80s, entered into a conspiracy, a literal, intentional conspiracy, to deprive the Hages of not only their permit grazing rights, for whatever reason, but also to deprive them of their vested property rights under the takings clause, and I find that that’s a sufficient basis to hold that there is irreparable harm if I don’t … restrain the government from continuing in that conduct.”

No cowpoke cuss could ever transcend what Judge Jones openly called feds invading ranch land.??“In fact, Judge Jones accused the federal bureaucrats of racketeering under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, and accused them as well of extortion, mail fraud, and fraud, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.”

Judge Jones bottom-lined what the government is doing to ranchers and property owners—end of chapter!

He, and likely other federal court black robes, know that the mainstream media goes into overdrive in trying to keep the truth from the masses.

Tragically, Fed-harassed rancher Wayne Hage was vindicated three years after he died. (Capital Press, Dec. 8, 2009).

While no one (mercifully) has died on the Bundy ranch—yet—the stories of Bundy,—-Hage, Wally Klump and others are a disturbing match.

“In a previous court decision, Senior Judge Loren Smith referred to the well-publicized Hage lawsuit as “a drama worthy of a tragic opera with heroic characters.”

“A federal judge has added $150,000 to the original $4.22 million judgment won by the estate of rancher Wayne Hage in a years-long battle over property rights.

“The federal government had asked Senior Judge Loren Smith to throw out the judgment. Instead, he increased it.

“Hage, a leader of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” against federal control of land, was the husband of former Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho. They both died in 2006.

“The order is the most recent victory in a legal dispute that stretches back to 1991, when Hage filed suit against the government for taking his private property without just compensation.

“Hage’s 7,000-acre ranch in Nye County, Nev., bordered several allotments in the Toiyabe National Forest on which he built fences, corrals, water facilities and other rangeland improvements for cattle grazing.

“Tensions began to mount between the rancher and the U.S. Forest Service in the late 1970s, when the agency permitted the introduction of elk to the national forest, resulting in damaged fences and scattered cattle, according to court records.

“Over the next decade, other incidents aggravated the strain and eventually led to the lawsuit.

“According to court documents, the Forest Service excluded Hage’s cattle from forage and water in certain allotments, impounded animals that entered those allotments and prevented him from maintaining ditches needed to exercise his water rights.

“In his legal complaint, Hage claimed the agency had breached its contractual obligations and violated his constitutional rights.

“During the course of litigation, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims decided the Forest Service could legally prohibit grazing on the allotments without compensating Hage, since grazing permits are licenses and not contracts.

“As such, the impoundment of cattle was not an unconstitutional taking because the cattle had trespassed on government land, the court said.

“However, the court ruled that the agency had taken Hage’s water rights, ditch rights-of-way, roads, water facilities and other structures without just compensation and in 2008 ordered the government to pay him $4.22 million.

“The federal government asked the court to change or set aside the financial compensation, alleging there’s no evidence Hage actually built hundreds of miles of fences, trails, ditches and pipelines on the allotments.

“Under the law, Hage would qualify for compensation only if he had built the structures, the government said.

“Because his grazing permits only authorized Hage to maintain the structures, he was not entitled to their full value, the government said.

“The judge disagreed.

“In the context of the grazing permits, “maintenance” included placing or construction, he said in the most recent ruling.

“The government’s argument “cannot be squared with the language of the statute and the reality of range work and construction,” Smith said.

“In adding more than $150,000 to the award, the judge ruled that his previous decision had mistakenly omitted the value of ditches and pipelines taken by the government.” …


UPDATE (4/14): NATURALLY, POSITIVE LAW UNDERSTATES NATURAL-LAW VIOLATIONS. Of course Judge Andrew Napolitao is understating the violation of homesteader Cliven Bundy’s rights by the Bureau of Land Grabs. That’s because the Judge’s analysis is not from natural law, “the body of laws derived from nature and reason,” but from the positive law, which is “statutory man-made law, created through the state.” Still, Nap is better than most:

Napolitano characterized the resistance shown by Bundy supporters as a clear example of how Americans feel, “enough is enough with the federal government, we’re drawing a line in the sand right here – and it drew people from all around the country who basically said ‘quit your heavy handed theft of property and act like you’re a normal litigant and not God almighty’.”


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A Law Unto Themselves

Constitution, Founding Fathers, Healthcare, Justice, Law, The Courts

Why stage a judicial intervention when you can sit back and let the executive and the legislature accrue more power, a power that invariably will redound to the Courts as well?

On Monday, the High Court, which should check the other two branches of government—how is that working out?—decided against taking up “the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program that collects bulk telephone data of millions of Americans.” (NJ)

When the Supreme Court has the chance to strike down rights-violating laws and legislation (like the Obamacare individual mandate)—it so often declines.

“Monday’s decision,” concludes the National Journal (too charitably, in my opinion), “reaffirms expectations that the justices would rather allow the issue to percolate within the circuit courts first.”

(At least NJ covers such stuff.)

In the case of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, John G. Roberts Jr., chief of the country’s legal politburo of proctologists, rewrote Obamacare, and then proceeded to provide the fifth vote to uphold the individual mandate undergirding the law, thereby undeniably and obscenely extending Congress’s taxing power.

Face it, the idea of a judiciary that would police the executive as an arm of a self-correcting tripartite government is worse than naive. Rather, it WAS recklessly naive of the American Founding Fathers to imagine that branches of a government, each of whose power is enhanced when the power of the other branches grows, would serve as a check on one another.

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Government Motors (GM) Is Reckless? You Don’t Say!

Business, Free Markets, Government, Law, Welfare

The greater the incursion of government into markets, the less quality control consumers are able to exert over the products they purchase.

GM (Government Motors) has been propped up by “government-backed guarantees,” on the backs of taxpayers. That’s government’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Government Motors was further inoculated against legal liability by filing for Chapter 11 protection, or bankruptcy.

“Immunity is pure cowardice,” complained a plaintiff. “They are hiding behind bankruptcy.”

You got it. That’s what government-supported bankruptcy did for Government Motors. It conferred “legal immunity from liability for deaths or injuries in accidents that happened before the current company was created out of the government-supported bankruptcy in July 2009. It was left free of old claims and lawsuits and those remained with ‘old GM,’ which holds assets and liabilities that did not go with the ‘new GM.’”

People have to make up their minds, for once and for all. Do they wish to rely on the benevolence of market forces or the malevolence of government force.

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The Talented Mr. Turley

Constitution, Federalism, History, Law, libertarianism

I find myself having to often defend against libertarian critique of my interest in the U.S. Constitution and the history of the republic. (Yes, imagine making excuses for intellectual curiosity.) I’m fascinated by it all. The disdain for American constitutional history among some libertarians seems to stem from laziness, which has invariably fed an attitude that treats the non-aggression axiom as if it materialized magically, and was handed down to the faithful at a Mount-Sinai like event, rather than from “the nit and the grit of the history and culture from which it emerged,” in the words of Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

It’s pitiful that one should have to defend against an incurious, ahistorical mindset. Nevertheless, I plead guilty of an interest in Jonathan Turley’s February 26, 2014 remarks to the Committee on the Judiciary, of the United States House of Representatives, even though, as a libertarian, I most certainly do not identify with their impetus: “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.”

Most of what the government does is either naturally illicit, immoral or both. If a president arose who refused to enforce MOST of our laws; I’d cheer him on. And one can hardly accuse the Judiciary of not doing much, as Turley does. The opposite is the case: there are no means to punish the Bench for its infractions (such as Zero Care).

Still and all, Turley is interesting (I apologized for my interest, did I not?), and he writes beautifully, using some marvelous analogies:

… We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There has been a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that threatens
the stability and functionality of our tripartite system. To be sure, this shift did not begin with President Obama. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under this Administration. These changes are occurring in a political environment with seemingly little oxygen for dialogue, let alone compromise. Indeed, the current
anaerobic conditions are breaking down the muscle of the constitutional
system that protects us all. Of even greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, as the Executive Branch has assumed such power. As someone who voted for President Obama and agrees with many of his policies, it is often hard to separate the ends from the means of presidential action. Indeed, despite decades of thinking and writing about the separation of powers, I have had momentary lapses where I privately rejoiced in seeing actions on goals that I share, even though they
were done in the circumvention of Congress.

There is no license in our system to act, as President Obama has promised, “with or without Congress” in these areas. During periods of political division, compromise is clearly often hard to come by. That reflects a divided country as a whole. Such opposition cannot be the justification for circumvention of the legislative branch. Otherwise, the separation of powers would only be respected to the extent that it
serves to ratify the wishes of a president …


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The Mindset Of A Subject

Healthcare, Law, Natural Law, Reason

“It is the law of the land,” parrot the statists, whenever the notion of repealing Zero Care is raised.

But even the legal positivist, for whom the law does not have to embody the “ideals of justice, democracy, or the rule of law” to remain in force, must concede that Obamacare is destructive to all Americans.

Americans are certainly coming to this realization. Polls show that “82% of Republicans and 58% of voters not affiliated with either party view the law unfavorably.”

As one natural-law scholar put it, “The human person is not a means for the ruler’s use.” (p. 174.) “A rule that does not issue from the activity of reason, an arbitrary rule or an arbitrary decree would savor of lawlessness rather than law.” (p. 172.)

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