The Sagebrush Rebellion is Dead
The sagebrush rebellion is dead. No range war by Nevada ranchers is going to resurrect it. This battle was fought by very intelligent lawyers and statesmen and they lost. They conceded their loss; so should everyone else attempting the same fight. But let’s set the record straight, there is a difference between the Sagebrush Rebellion and the Bundy’s battle: The Sagebrush Rebellion was fought in court. It recognized the laws of the land and acquiesced to them. The Bundy’s are inciting rebellion, aggressively antagonizing federal agents to get a reaction, and they have opened Pandora’s Box for other radical groups to take up arms against the government. Bundy also had his day in court, but has not accepted the decision. Because of that, their cause is not just, moral, or right. At this point, their personal battle is dangerous, reckless, and is encouraging anarchy. It’s over. The BLM is going to finish this. It is time for Cliven Bundy to call it off for the sake of safety. Here are their claims and counter arguments:
• The land in Nevada is not federal land: They are wrong. That land was ceded to the U.S. Government from Mexico in 1848. In the 1860s the citizens of Nevada voted to turn over un-parceled land to the federal government in exchange for statehood (as did Utah).
• They have Preemption Rights: Preemption rights on public land were valid in the early 1800s and were largely discontinued with the Homestead Act. The Bundy’s would certainly have gotten pre-emption rights under the Homestead Act and the Taylor Grazing Act. The land that was guaranteed was their own private land, not public land. As stated above, it was federal land before the Bundy’s settled there.
• They cite Prescriptive Easements: As for prescriptive easements, courts will rarely, if ever, grant a prescriptive easement in situations where the easement is over public land, which is the case with Bundy.
• They claim rights under Beneficial Use: Beneficial rights are given to people who have grazing allotments, which means they have been authorized to graze their cattle on public land. Bundy does not have an allotment or rights to graze his cattle. He forfeited all of his beneficial rights when he stopped paying his grazing fees. That being said, he was offered compensation for the water and improvements he made.
• The BLM does not have law enforcement authority: The BLM does have law enforcement authority from Congress. They were given that authority by Congress when it passed the Federal Lands Management and Policy Act of 1976.
• The “Life, liberty, and property” clause: The 5th Amendment states that no one will be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Cliven Bundy did get due process. The courts did not see it his way.
• Thier end goal: To abolish the BLM and NPS and put public lands in the hands of the people (According to Ryan Bundy on the radio station Fox 1450AM).
The laws of our nation embody (or are supposed to embody) the principles enshrined in the constitution. Laws that conflict with those principles typically get over-turned, as in the case of the Defense of Marriage Act which was over-turned by the Supreme Court under the principle that all people are created equal and deserve equal treatment under the law. Law builds on itself. One cannot honestly tout a law that was passed in the 1800s as the final say. It ignores all law and cases that were built on it and passed after it. Law is a fluid thing that builds on precedent. It upholds principles, but is constantly changing with the times. As Richard Bryan, former Attorney General, Governor, and Senator of Nevada who led the Sagebrush Rebellion in Nevada stated, “The Bundy argument has been fought and lost and the current situation is dangerous and unneeded.” Belligerently and aggressively confronting federal agents in an attempt to incite violence is wrong, dangerous, and hurts their cause. This is why the Bundy’s will not prevail, why the State of Utah will not prevail, and why no one else who attempts it will prevail. The responsible thing for Cliven Bundy to do is call it off. It’s over. It’s just a matter of time.
Richard Bryan’s interview on Ralston Reports:
Posted on April 4, 2014, in Nature and the Environment and tagged 14th amendment, 5th Amendment, Beneficial Use, BLM, Cliven Bundy, DOMA, militias, Preemptive Rights, prescriptive easement, principles, range war, Richard Bryan, Rolstan Reports, Sagebrush Rebellion. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.