Thursday, January 07, 2016

Militia in Oregon: Constitutionally Right

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The issue in Oregon, where an armed militia is standing up to the federal government as they did at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, isn't as much about ranchers burning a fire line on the edge of their property to protect their own property (and it getting away from them and burning into "federal land"), whether or not the Hammond family even wants the "armed militia" there in their town, or that the "armed" militia is willing to occupy a ranch on the edge of federal space in the first place.  I don't believe, as the media and some of the police does, that these militia members want to overthrow the county and federal government hoping for some kind of nationwide "blood in the streets" coup.  It is really all about government authority, and if the federal government is functioning within the "realm of authorities granted by the Constitution."

We do have to remember that in this world of political correctness, liberal left media, and a progressive political ideology that is willing to put the President of the United States on stage with fake tears rolling down his cheeks as he talked about shredding the Constitution and taking upon himself (because Congress won't) unilateral actions to strip Americans of their right to keep and bear arms, everything is about perception.  Being "right" is not enough, sometimes.  The militia in Oregon is 100% right when it comes to the Constitution, and they are 100% right in what they are doing in the sense of the right of the citizens to stand up to a tyrannical federal government.  But, I am not 100% convinced that their tactics are 100% right for the perception part of the game.

What amazes me is how quickly the federal government moved on this issue in Oregon, while showing no such expediency when it came to "Black Lives Matter" protests that ultimately destroyed communities, and destroyed private property.  The federal government also showed no such expediency when it came to taking control of our borders (as they are tasked to do in Article IV., Section 4, where the Constitution demands that the States must be protected from invasion).

Oregon is mostly owned by the federal government (53.1%).  The Western States are largely, in the terms of percentage of property ownership, owned by the federal government.  This was partially the result of the federal government strong-arming the States when it came time to become a State.  The new States were basically told, "If you want to become a State, you will surrender this land (allow the federal government to retain control over this land) - or else, we will not grant you your statehood."  Declaring some of the land for preservation under Theodore Roosevelt was another method of how the federal government seized the property

The militia, and the local ranchers, say that the federal government is managing the property in question unconstitutionally.  According to Article I, Section 8, they say, the government can't own plots of land larger than 10-miles square.

That "10-miles square" argument being used by some of the folks has a flaw, even though they are quoting the proper clause of the U.S. Constitution.

According to Article I, Section 8, "The Congress shall have 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, dock-Yards and other needful buildings."

The "10-miles square" part of the clause is a direct reference to Washington, D.C.  Our clues are that the 10-miles square plot of land is provided by "Cession of particular States," it is over "such District," and it is to "become the Seat of the Government of the United States."  Maryland and Virginia ceded the land for the District of Columbia.  Land for the federal government in other places is not "ceded" permanently by the States.  Also, federal land, other than D.C., is not referred to as being "districts," normally.

According to the clause in Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution, there are certain criteria required to be met in order for the federal government to own land within a State.  The three requirements follows the phrase "and to exercise like Authority over all Places" in the clause.  They are:

1) The land must be "purchased."

2) The land must be acquired with the "Consent of the Legislature of the State."

3) The property must be for the purpose of "the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings." (emphasis added)

So, regarding the stand-off in Oregon (and Bundy Ranch in Nevada) the first question must be, "does the federal government have the authority to defend their ownership of that land?"  If the land was not acquired legally, the answer is, "No."

Property retained by the federal government as a condition for statehood was never "purchased," there was no "consent of the legislature" because the legislature of the State did not exist yet when the deal was made, and most of the property is vast stretches of land that are not held by the federal government specifically for the purpose of erecting "needful buildings."

The same goes for National Parks, and land seized for the stated purpose of "conservation" or other "environmentalism" reasons.

If it is so important that the federal government must own all of that land, then why did they seize the property in the manner they did?  Why not simply amend the Constitution of the United States, so that the procurement of the property was all legal-like?

Since the land was ill-gotten, federal ownership of the land is unconstitutional.  By unconstitutional, I mean to say "illegal."  Therefore, the rightful owners, the States, and the people, have a right to retrieve their stolen property.  The militia, based on my immediate observations, is constitutionally in the right.  They have every reason to do what they are doing, except one.  How is the public perceiving this?  Is what the militia is doing best for the cause?

I am not saying that the alternative is the opposite.  This should not be a situation where either the militia is there, or they are not.  But I must ask, "does the militia have the blessings of the property owners (Hammonds)?  Did they exhaust all other attempts to resolve this first?  Did the militia reach out to the State of Oregon seeking an alliance in this effort?  What about the county, or the town?  Was there a campaign of townhalls and other meetings to ensure that this "last resort of occupation" was the only remaining avenue regarding how to handle this situation?

Most of all, was there any consideration or work done regarding the messaging part of this campaign?

Messaging is the primary part.  Without proper messaging, it doesn't matter how good you are, how right you are, or how horrible the opposition is.  If your messaging is not correct, you could be the best, or the right guy for the job all you want, but you won't win the war in the end.

Just ask Mitt Romney.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Residual Public Land Trust - FamGuardian (Marcia H. Armstrong)

Obama wipes away tears as he calls for new gun measures - Politico

Ammon Bundy Speaks from Occupied Oregon Refuge; It's Important that People Know That We're Serious - Yahoo News

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