Nevada Rancher Confusing Liberty With Anarchy

Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy is very confused about a few things. Federal authorities are impounding his cattle for illegally trespassing on land for 20 years in which Mr. Bundy has refused to pay grazing fees.

Bundy has a different take:

“I’ve been fighting this for a number of years. It’s not about my cows, I’ll tell you that much. It’s about freedom and liberty and our Constitution … and above all it’s about our policing power. Who has policing power today?”

Really? The Constitution says you can ignore laws you don’t like? I don’t think so Mr. Bundy. You are confusing “liberty” with “anarchy.”

Actually I do agree with Mr. Bundy that this is about the Constitution… and I quote:

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;”

– Article 6, United States Constitution

In case there was any confusion about that, the Supreme Court has ruled that federal laws (when Constitutional) trump state laws every time. Remember that time Alabama Governor George Wallace brought out the Alabama National Guard to prevent blacks from going to school with whites, after the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education? Many people said it was tyranny for the federal government to force desegregation on the states. It was a classic case of people trying to use states’ rights to justify states’ wrongs. Never mind the 14th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause or Article 3 of the Constitution.

“The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish;…

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;”

– Article 3, United States Constitution

That’s right, matters of federal law are decided by federal courts. What makes this country free is the right to Due Process.

“No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

– 5th Amendment, United States Constitution

Oh yeah, Clive Bundy had his day in court and received his right to due process of law. Unfortunately for him, he lost. The court has ordered him to remove the cattle, and has given the BLM authority to impound the cattle if he does not comply. Now, just because he (or you, or anyone) doesn’t like the Court’s decision doesn’t give him (or anyone) the right to ignore it. That isn’t how it works people… that’s called anarchy.

Apparently it all started when he didn’t like rules the BLM put in place regarding management of cattle on public lands in 1993. He then decided he wouldn’t pay grazing fees anymore because he didn’t like the new rules.

There are several laws we can find reasons to object to. I believe a cancer patient shouldn’t be arrested by federal agents for smoking marijuana. I certainly don’t agree with anti-sodomy laws or even our current system of immigration laws that split families apart. Nonetheless, they are laws. If you don’t like them, you do have the right to speak out, write, protest, and participate in the political process to change the law. What you don’t have a right to do is not pay your taxes, or fines, etc, let alone interfere with law enforcement and court orders. It’s as simple as that.

More and more today we see people playing the “freedom card” anytime they don’t like a law. Freedom is not something to be crying wolf about. Mr. Clive Bundy, I understand you are frustrated with the BLM, and have been for decades. But sir, do us all a favor and stop disgracing the cause of freedom by claiming it as your cause. It ain’t your cause.


From a friend on Twitter, the Nevada Constitution is also against Mr. Bundy’s claims to the land.

“Third. That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they 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; and that lands belonging to citizens of the United States, residing without the said state, shall never be taxed higher than the land belonging to the residents thereof; and that no taxes shall be imposed by said state on lands or property therein belonging to, or which may hereafter be purchased by, the United States, unless otherwise provided by the congress of the United States.”

Update 04/13/2014:

Here are the findings of facts and conclusions of law from a case exactly like Bundy’s case – the Gardner decision here. It’s everything you need to know about Bundy’s case from a legal/constitutional law standpoint.

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