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The Constitution…Be Careful What You Wish For

I’ve discussed before the trouble with relying on the Constitution when making arguments for this or that policy, particularly among libertarians. There is a great irony in seeing those that deride “statism” stand side-by-side with a document that created one of the largest, most overreaching states in the history of the world.

Before the Constitution, the “united” states were loosely affiliated under the Articles of Confederation, but there was no overriding federal authority until the Constitutional Convention formed the federal government in 1787. I see no need to delve into history further; if you so choose there are many avenues by which one can educate themselves on U.S. history.

During the recent standoff at the Bundy Ranch which I discussed earlier this week, many of his supporters were giving reverence to the Constitution in their defense of Bundy. Cliven Bundy himself has referenced the Constitution in his defense, stating to Fox News:

This is a lot bigger deal than just my cows…It’s a statement for freedom and liberty and the Constitution.

So what’s the problem? I’m all for freedom and liberty; heck, I’m all for encouraging the Federal Government to, at the very least, limit itself to the powers clearly defined in the Constitution. Powers which are far too broad, but I digress….

The problem is that the Constitution has ushered in many of the very issues which Cliven Bundy and his supporters are battling with right now. The Constitution not only created the federal government; it also allowed that very same federal government to own and acquire land for public use. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution allows the federal government to own land for a variety of uses (though of course, “protecting tortoises” was not one of them.) Additionally, the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution essentially codifies the federal government’s right to use eminent domain to seize formerly private property for its own use. Most of the fifth amendment sounds just peachy until you get to the end…

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So essentially...

for any reason they want!

When the government gets to decide the validity of its own claims, and whether they qualify for "public use" or what have you, they can essentially confiscate property for *any* reason, legitimate or imagined.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

This Article Needs Clarification.

The article stated, "Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution allows the federal government to own land for a variety of uses ..."

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution 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, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; ..."

The federal government does not have the authority to purchase land sold to it by State legislatures "for a variety of uses" but specifically for the construction of edifices the are in direct support of federal administration. This authority is known as the "Enclave Clause". So they are not allowed to inventory undeveloped land; they can only purchase land strictly for building structure(s).

Thank you I agree with you on all points.

Our Constitution was well thought out by our founding fathers. They knew this new central government they were about to form, could easily abuse it's own people, just as the King of England had done.

The Constitution was written to 'RESTRAIN' the government, NOT the people. I for one am NOT worried about what I'm wishing for regarding wanting our Constitution back.

The real problem we face in this country, is the lower Federal Courts, which are corrupt and represent the Federal Government's interests only. Most of the judges in the lower courts are corrupt as well.

I think the solution to this problem is simple. Fire all the lower Court Judges immediately. Allow the Governors of each state where a federal court exists to appoint the first judgeship, and then the people shall elect all future judges from then on. The election cycle for these new Lower court judges would be timed in unison with each states Governor Races (every 4 yrs).

I know this is not the perfect solution, but it's far better than what we have now.

www.SpiderWebbs.com (The only bookmark you'll ever need!)

for example

"other needful buildings"...these clauses are so vague that they can apply to anything. so what's the principle here? Should the federal government be able to own land or not? Perhaps a Harry Reid solar project could be considered a "needful building". Well, there goes your argument if you are only speaking on "Constitutional" grounds.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

The Constitution Provides For Government Ownership of Land

I am aware of three ways the federal government can own land.

First, through the treaty provision of executive power of the Constitution. The federal government has owned land since the founding of the country (e.g., 1783 Treaty of Paris, Louisiana Purchase, Guadalupe Hidalgo, etc.).

Second, Article 1, Section 8, clause 17.

Third, The Fifth Amendment via eminent domain for public use.

oops

accidentally posted this reply up above...

So essentially... for any reason they want!

When the government gets to decide the validity of its own claims, and whether they qualify for "public use" or what have you, they can essentially confiscate property for *any* reason, legitimate or imagined.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

My purpose

Was not to detail every manner in which the Constitution specifically allows for the federal government to own land. We can go in circles all day on specifics, the point is that arguments need to have a principle, philosophical basis.

The Constitution created the very federal government which Cliven Bundy claims "doesn't exist". So which is it? Does it not exist ,or does it exist Constitutionally?

The Constitution clearly allows for eminent domain, which ultimately makes all private property subject to government confiscation.

The government should certainly be held to stick to the Constitution, but if we want to win hearts and minds in a broad sense, we must focus on principle.

Legally, it is fairly clear Cliven Bundy has no legs to stand on. Morally speaking he may certainly have a case. That's the case he should make.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Good piece

Live by the sword, die by the sword.