The Blaze.com video was excellent. It was a video of Glenn Beck on the Nevada thing. I have tapered off from watching Glenn Beck over the past couple years for two reasons. One is that he is usually right and he goes into parts of a subject that when you realize he is probably right it will scare the hell out of you.
The other reason is that sometimes he will go to great length to explain his point (perhaps this is where I learned). This is usually a good thing and it is essential if there is some misunderstanding of the issue. However, I usually agree and understand the point when he makes it with the clarity he normally uses so when he takes the next fifteen minutes to explain the point it is easy for me to turn the channel. Case in point, this video is over fourteen minutes long and he makes his point, using appropriate clarity, in the first five and a half minutes. Then he uses the remaining nine minutes (roughly) to explain his point. Like me, I think he does this because he assumes some of his audience will probably not be as informed as him.
I strongly encourage everyone here to watch that video, at least the first five and a half minutes (the rest at your discretion). I believe Beck starts to make the case where Bundy is absolutely right in his cause (although not right in his methods).
But first some comments on the original post:
I agree that there is a disconnect between supporters of Clive Bundy and what he is actually fighting for. I fear that if you ask most of his supporters (beyond his very close supporters who really do know), what it is they are supporting by supporting Bundy, they will either not have a clue or they will not be able to speak of anything that will point to the one and ONLY way Bundy can win. Most people don’t have a clue why Bundy is right because most people are not even remotely aware of their rights.
The Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” That is made very clear in Article VI of the Constitution, which goes on to say “and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby.”
What that clause in Article VI means, and I don’t think many Americans properly understand this and certainly our politicians don’t understand or intentionally ignore, is that as it says the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and that those laws made in accordance with the supreme law are also themselves part of that supreme law. This also means that a law NOT made in accordance with the supreme law is not a law.
This isn’t talking about “how a bill becomes a law” in that one house introduces a bill, passes it, and then the other house chews on it for a while and sends their objections back to the initiating House where it is again debated and eventually both Houses agree and it is sent to the president for signature. No, you can pass a law through that process that forces all toilet paper to be made out of razor blades and we certainly do not want that, meaning that just because it went through that process doesn’t mean it is a good law.
When the Constitution talks about a law that is “made in pursuance thereof” it means any and all laws that are made that have their authority inside the Constitution itself. In other words the law CANNOT conflict at all with the Constitution. If the law does conflict with the Constitution then it is NOT a law (see Obamacare for a very recent example).
To be sure, the founders knew that the constitution as written in-the-day might someday be “out-dated” in one clause or another. To remedy this they included a procedure to “change” or “amend” (amend being the preferred word) the constitution to keep it applicable with modern times. To wit, the American people have taken advantage of this twenty seven times.
The founders also specifically DID NOT WANT the judicial system, to include the judges on the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, to be able to change or alter in any manner the Constitution of the United States.
The Supreme Court Judges are NOT elected, they are appointed. Furthermore, once appointed they enjoy lifetime tenure on the bench. THIS MEANS THE SUPREME COURT IS NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE. They are accountable ONLY to the constitution and nothing more (yet unfortunately they are not always true to even that). This is why ALL laws by necessity must be debated in congress (both houses) because the legislators ARE elected by the people and as such they ARE ACCOUNTABLE to the people. This is commonly known as representation.
Let me take this point one more step and then get back to Bundy. Because the judges on the Supreme Court are NOT accountable to the people they CANNOT alter the meaning of an unconstitutional law in an effort to make it constitutional (no matter how sincere the effort might be). If the court strikes down a law as unconstitutional, and only a minor one word change is necessary in order to “save” the law, the Supreme Court does NOT have the authority to do so and it MUST be returned to congress who is accountable to the people, for re-write. Yes, even for a one word change such as changing the word “PENALTY” to the word “TAX”.
Long story short, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all laws made in pursuance thereof are also supreme laws of the land – and all laws NOT made in pursuance thereof ARE NOT LAWS (also known as unconstitutional laws). This is the basis for Clive Bundy’s case.
Incidentally, for those who might be considering “how dare the founders consider their document, the Constitution, to be SUPREME” (as in above all) please consider for a moment that they DO NOT do this. What do I mean? First of all they declared that the Constitution is the supreme law of the LAND (or country, or nation if you prefer) but they DID NOT declare it to be the supreme law of man. Those who don’t believe won’t care but those who believe in God will care about this.
What really drives this point home is the Declaration of Independence, which came before the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is the “why” of our country – explaining why we became a nation, and the Constitution is the “how” of our country – explaining how we as a nation are to be constructed and how, if a person chooses to be a member or citizen, that person will act and be treated by said nation. It should be noted that everyone is free to leave as they wish if this is too harsh by their standards.
The Declaration of Independence again states the “why” of the existence of this nation. In simple terms that reason is clearly stated in the very beginning and it is re-stated here for your reading pleasure. Every true American should know these words by heart, or at least know their meaning. The founders recognized God as being the Supreme Power and Supreme law of man and as such they placed everything they did as being subordinate to that. Sadly, today this system has been so abused by politicians and citizens who did not care what their politicians were doing, that for many it seems that this peaceful subordination of government to the people who are in turn subordinate to their creator, no longer exists. To the true patriot and constitutionalist it still does.
The founders also saw that not everyone in this world held the same belief in those God-given rights and would actively seek to take from the individual those rights that were given him by God. Point being that the ONLY purpose, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, for the existence of this country is to have those freedoms and the ONLY reason for the existence of the federal government of this country is to secure and protect those God-given rights from men who want to take them from us. For clarity, here are the words from the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
That phrase makes it clear beyond doubt that our founders were NOT placing the Constitution, or even this country, above God. In fact they were acknowledging the fact that this country is created in order that its citizens could enjoy those rights given to us by God.
The Declaration of Independence goes on to say: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This means that the entire reason, the ONLY reason for the United States (or federal) government to exist is to defend those God-given rights. This also means that there is no other reason for the existence of the federal government.
It should be noted that this single responsibility by no means infers that it is unimportant or to be taken lightly. To the contrary, the protection of our rights and freedoms is the single most important thing that we as a country have power over; and that power then creates a huge responsibility, a responsibility so huge in fact that it warrants a government with that single purpose.
So how does this provide a solid defense for Clive Bundy? I am not sure it at all provides a defense for his actions in defying the federal government. But what it does do is it gives him a solid defense once he gets into court.
The defense is both clear and short, thankfully because this post is getting lengthy. The constitution specifically spells out the powers of the federal government. These are the enumerated powers and by definition, if the power is not given to the federal government by the constitution then it is DENEID to the federal government. In other words and with very few and minor exceptions, if the federal government is not specifically empowered to do something then it is specifically PROHIBITED from doing it.
The Tenth Amendment makes this very clear when it states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Again, this is what DENIES to the federal government all those powers that are not specifically given to the federal government.
One of the enumerated powers is as follows: “The congress shall have the power to… exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings…”
Other than the enumerated power that states that congress has the power “To establish post offices and post roads…” no other enumerated power discusses a physical asset but instead discusses something intangible, such as the power to “coin” money, or “Provide” for the Punishment, or “constitute” tribunals, or “define” and punish, and the list goes on but they are intangible in that the granting of a power to make rules or laws is not a tangible thing. The closest the constitution gets to giving a tangible asset to the government is the post office, which is arguably an asset, and the jurisdiction of the above-mentioned land (land being an asset).
How does this apply to Clive Bundy? Unless the land in question (that land upon which his cows are grazing) is Washington D.C., or some type of military installation or ground upon which a federal building sits such as a federal courthouse or even a local office of the FBI, that land CANNOT be owned by the federal government. Ownership of that land by the federal government is a direct violation of the Constitution of the United States.
The federal government (specifically congress) does have authority over territories of the United States and this is being used to counter the claim of Clive Bundy. The federal government declares that the land came from Mexico in a treaty that was executed BEFORE Nevada became a state and as such that land belongs to the federal government. Bundy will (hopefully) argue that indeed when that was a territory that the federal government did own the land. Hopefully he will further argue that due to the extremely narrow definition of the type of land the federal government can own (and the land in question does not meet that narrow criteria), the federal government was required by the Constitution of the United States (recall this is the supreme law of the land) to then give that land (as in title and jurisdiction) to the State of Nevada.
It is my contention that Bundy has a very solid case here. Sadly I must admit that he is going to fight a very fierce battle from the government though. It isn’t only that the government has all the money in the world to fight this (they have a printing press so they can make more) but they will argue that they have “precedent” for the claimed federal ownership. In fact they do have “precedent” but if that “precedent” is wrong then it would be wrong for the federal government to support an unconstitutional position with an unconstitutional “precedent.”
Clive Bundy has taken on a monumental task and it could and will likely cost him his ranch. He has the Constitution behind him and ALL judges are bound by sworn oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. Many judges are crooked though and this is bad. However, even if all judges stick solidly with the constitution and ultimately rule that Bundy is in the right, the costs of attorney fees will probably bankrupt him and cost him his ranch.
Clive Bundy should win this, but even if he received free (and competent) legal representation that would keep him from bankruptcy, he will probably lose because if he wins he will have stopped the future unconstitutional growth of the federal government and will at the same time started a movement to reduce the current size of government. Many of those in government today will fight him with all their power because a reduction in the size of government (especially of the size we are talking here) will mean the loss of many government employees and politicians.