Militias, Tea Party, and White Supremacist Elements Unite to Defend Cliven Bundy
This article discusses just how radical Cliven Bundy’s views are, and especially how radical his supporters are.
One of many money quotes:
Cliven Bundy’s legal arguments have also echoed long-standing movement claims, including that the United States does not own the property in question, that the Disclaimer Clause in the Nevada Constitution does not apply to these lands and that federal ownership of lands in Nevada violates the Equal Footing Doctrine. Disclaimer Clauses were commonly placed in the Constitutions of western states as a condition of entry into the union. Nevada’s own version states that the state’s citizens “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”
Sagebrush Rebels of the 1970s and 1980s argued that the “equal footing doctrine” - a legal doctrine holding that newly admitted states would enter the union on Constitutionally equal footing with existing states - precluded permanent federal ownership of property. This view stands in contrast to U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 stating that “Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” In Sagebrush Rebellion hands, these arguments support transferring control of federal lands to state and/or county governments, an action that would undermine the ability of the federal government to enforce environmental protections and carry out its trust responsibility to Indian Nations.
Bundy has echoed state’s rights sentiments as well as ideas of government at the core of the County Supremacy Movement. Bundy told the Desert Valley Times, for instance, that “It’s not the seizure of Bundy cattle that’s important here…It’s the seizure of state sovereignty; it’s the seizure of state law; it’s the seizure of the land; it’s the seizure of the (Clark County) sheriff’s police power.” Bundy declared, “For 20 years I have not paid any grazing fees and far as I’m concerned the BLM don’t exist.” Directing his words at the County Commission and County Sheriff, Bundy stated before a Wyoming audience,
“You better understand that you don’t work for the federal government. You don’t work for the state government. You don’t even work for the county government except that… You work for ‘We the People’.” That’s what you do. And any time you represent some other organization, it’s like you represent a foreign nation. Like representing Russia over here. Or Mexico. Or Canada. It’s treason to the people of your county anytime you sign an MOU with a foreign agent… The county sheriff, it’s the same with you. You’re paid and your elected, you’re paid by ‘We the People’ to uphold the laws of Wyoming and the United States Constitution…When you go over that [county] line, you don’t have no jurisdiction and authority. When you’re here, you have all the Constitutional jurisdiction and authority. You have the only policing power and you have the only arresting power. Even if the FBI man comes to your county, he does not have arresting power. He might make you think he does. And the rest of you might think he does, but he does not have arresting power in this county. That man right there [sheriff] is the only man that has the power. He can delegate that power only to his deputies that you pay for. He can’t delegate that power to a… BLM ranger. No way in the world can he…Now I want to tell you something about protecting your property. I do not expect that sheriff to do one darn thing that you’re not willing to do. If you’re not willing to stand on the line and protect your life, liberty and property, don’t you dare expect your sheriff to do that!… Again, I honor you for your [sheriff] position. You can tell I’m very serious. You do have the most powerful position in this United States of America - more so than the president of the United States, more so than his army. You have that much on your shoulders. He don’t have no jurisdictional authority, neither does his army. But you do.”
“County Supremacy” is at the heart of the Bundy standoff, as it has been in similar situations over the years. It is the foundation for many militia groups, as this article details.
It’s a very important read.