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The US Constitution Prohibits The Federal Government From Owning Vast Tracts Of Land

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posted on Feb, 16 2016 @ 11:56 PM
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This is an issue that has come up time and time again in the discussion surrounding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation that began shortly after the new year(2016). It's really one of the core issues underlying the occupation of the refuge, and one of the key messages that those folks were trying to promote. I think they were right. I thought it deserved it's own thread, so here it is.

The relevant sections of the US Constitution that directly adress this issue need to be referenced, I think.

Article 1, Section 8:



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;—And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.


Then there's Article 4, Sections 1 and 3:


Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The 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; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.


I think Article 6 is relevant to the discussion, so I will quote it in its entirety:


Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The tenth amendment to the US Constitution is often referenced in a debate such as this, so I will quote it here as well:


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.

I shall refrain in this opening post from writing a more detailed opinion, having given a basic opinion in the thread title. Here it is, then. The long overdue 'constitutional definition of land use' discussion and debate thread. Let's see what shakes out. Discuss.
en.wikisource.org...
en.wikisource.org...
www.law.cornell.edu...
edit on 17-2-2016 by TheBadCabbie because: forgot to link sources and research tools

edit on Wed Feb 17 2016 by DontTreadOnMe because: title change, from: The US Constitution Does Not Authorize The Federal Government To Own Vast Tracts Of Land




posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:02 AM
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I think the image you use as your avatar is a worthy answer to your post.
Agreeing with you that it is not included but now with things like imminent domain,
they can take your land with no questions asked if it's within something they deem
appropriate to their needs.

Quick note on the above and your post...When we don't pay our property taxes
the banks/government takes it upon themselves to take it back...
Being that our taxes pay for these lands they own....isn't it at the end of the day our land?
Our fear of authority will one day have us living in jail cells and we call them homes.

Good post.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:07 AM
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a reply to: unicornholiday




Agreeing with you that it is not included but now with things like imminent domain, they can take your land with no questions asked if it's within something they deem appropriate to their needs.

Correct, the government (state, county, or federa) cannot take your land. They have to buy it (even if you don't want to sell it). That's in the Fifth amendment.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.



Regarding the OP,

The 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; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Would seem to contradict your claim.

edit on 2/17/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:09 AM
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a reply to: Phage

And when you don't comply to their price they take it.

realestate.findlaw.com...



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie

The intent has been so perverted over time, by those who covet power, that I do not think it can be redeemed through thoughtful changes to federal policy. I think we have reached a point that, shy of completely dismantling the system, we will continue the ever accelerating circling of the drain.

The system is corrupted enough that it has to be broken no matter the short-term cost. Either Trump or Sanders is a start, but we need to elect local and state officials to keep fracturing the system as well.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:15 AM
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originally posted by: unicornholiday
a reply to: Phage

And when you don't comply to their price they take it.

realestate.findlaw.com...

No. They don't take it. They buy it at it's appraised value, as specified by the fifth amendment.
Your source:

The valuation figure that the government reaches may differ from the landowner's, at which point the measurement of value will turn on the persuasiveness of the landowner's appraiser.

edit on 2/17/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:20 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Phage,

You must make a great living in order to pay for the attorney and reevaluation of the land for a sea of
paperwork that must be filled to the city in order to compete with their deep pockets.
Since you're unaware of how the rest of the folks get along some are just not able to keep payments on a mortgage, car, insurance and every day expenses and to top it off a professional competent attorney to tackle the situation.
From my own article since you're an affluent person you must be able to understand that all of that comes with a price.
A price many people are unable to afford.
They'll take it by giving you what they deem a "fair price" or by foreclosing on you when you're unable to afford the payments after your legal battle with them.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:26 AM
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a reply to: unicornholiday

They'll take it by giving you what they deem a "fair price" or by foreclosing on you when you're unable to afford the payments after your legal battle with them.
A legal battle would, in many cases be futile (though it can be done) but the government cannot "foreclose" on you. In real estate transactions the costs of appraisals are usually part of the closing costs and held in escrow. It would come out of the sales price. They run in the neighborhood of $500. But unless you disagree with the appraisal by the government (which is based on the same things your own appraiser would use), you don't need one.

I'm not saying that eminent domain is terrific but I'm saying that it is definitely Constitutional.


edit on 2/17/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:32 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Phage,

That's if it even makes it to a legal battle.
Just recently adding the 4th corner to my property took almost 6 months of back and forth because the city did not have on their records the same adjustment as my deed.
Meaning the cities records had to be redone to show I had a 4th corner to my property.
That was attorney - that was filing - that was administrative. $$$$
The government may not be able to "foreclose" on you but they sure can make it a very stacked deck in their favor.
Again, not everyone is able to throw money at these problems like you may be able to.
If they want your land - they will take it.

edit on 17-2-2016 by unicornholiday because: Phage - I like how you backtrack your comments. I will pay mind to do the same.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:36 AM
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a reply to: unicornholiday

Just recently adding the 4th corner to my property took almost 6 months of back and forth because the city did not have on their records the same adjustment as my deed.
I'm not sure what you mean by "adding the 4th corner" but it doesn't seem to have much to do with the topic.



If they want your land - they will take it.
No. They will buy it at its appraised value. They cannot just take it. The fifth amendment makes that clear.


edit on 2/17/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:38 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Phage,

Nothing you have added goes to the point of the Op as well so since you mentioned it first I will concede.
We'll just agree to disagree.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:46 AM
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This is utter BS.

Nothing you've quoted from the Constitution precludes the federal government from owning land. Nothing of the sort exists. Here's a few points to consider:

1. Right there in Article 4, Section 3, the "Property Clause":


The 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; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.


Oh look, "Territory or other Property belonging to the United States."

2. Treaty and War Powers (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 — the "Treaty Clause" and Article VI)

When all of the additional territory was amassed through purchase, wars, treaty and forcible "relocation" of indigenous people, who do you think assumed ownership of that land? The federal government, that's who.

3. Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, the "Enclave Clause"


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;


Not only does this show that the federal government can in fact, own land, but specifically that it can purchase said lands from states. Where you're seeing this as limiting the federal government because examples are enumerated, it doesn't actually say that the federal government can't purchase other lands at all, simply that this specific authority is specifically reserved.

EDIT:

Let me also introduce you to the State of Utah's Enabling Act (1894):


Second. That the people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof; and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes; and that until the title thereto shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, and said Indian lands shall remain under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the Congress of the United States; that the lands belonging to citizens of the United States residing without the said State shall never be taxed at a higher rate than the lands belonging to residents thereof; that no taxes shall be imposed by the State on lands or property therein belonging to or which may hereafter be purchased by the United States or reserved for its use; but nothing herein, or in the ordinance herein provided for, shall preclude the said State from taxing, as other lands are taxed, any lands owned or held by any Indian who has severed his tribal relations and has obtained from the United States or from any person a title thereto by patent or other grant, save and except such lands as have been or may be granted to any Indian or Indians under any act of Congress containing a provision exempting the lands thus granted from taxation; but said ordinance shall provide that all such lands shall be exempt from taxation by said State so long and to such extent as such act of Congress may prescribe.

edit on 2016-2-17 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 12:53 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Let me also introduce you to the State of Utah's Enabling Act (1894):

Nevada, 1864.

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 the 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.

www.leg.state.nv.us...


edit on 2/17/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 01:00 AM
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originally posted by: unicornholiday
a reply to: Phage

Phage,

You must make a great living in order to pay for the attorney and reevaluation of the land for a sea of
paperwork that must be filled to the city in order to compete with their deep pockets.
Since you're unaware of how the rest of the folks get along some are just not able to keep payments on a mortgage, car, insurance and every day expenses and to top it off a professional competent attorney to tackle the situation.
From my own article since you're an affluent person you must be able to understand that all of that comes with a price.
A price many people are unable to afford.
They'll take it by giving you what they deem a "fair price" or by foreclosing on you when you're unable to afford the payments after your legal battle with them.


I hear complaints from people almost every day that don't want to pay a fee, or follow building codes, or any other number of things. The fact is... you choose where you buy property. Nobody makes that choice for you. There is full disclosure on the rules, regulations, and everything else before you buy property. You need to do your due diligence. That's not to say that some people don't get screwed, but I'd say 4 out of 5 of the people I talk to failed to find out what the deal was before they decided to sink 30 years of their payments into a property.

As far as I am concerned owning property is a responsibility to defend it, be a steward to it, and to know everything about it. If you are not able to do that you should not own property. Eminent domain is certainly being abused and there is no doubt about that. I am prepared to defend my property against any claim. I have chosen property that will likely never need to be defended against such a claim. I also bought a property that is never likely to flood, have a hurricane, have a tornado, or any other natural disaster.

Buyer beware is a very important thing to consider. If you make a choice to live in an atmosphere of excessive regulation you certainly sacrifice liberty for safety.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 01:07 AM
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a reply to: Ksihkehe

"Eminent domain is certainly being abused and there is no doubt about that."

That you understand that, is all that needs to be acknowledged.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie

I tend to agree that the founding fathers never intended for the federal government -- or even state or county governments -- to own so much land within any state; it further seems to me that the federal government was given the power to dispose of those lands as they saw fit, but were never intended to retain possession of those lands, much less full control. Especially when we consider that only the western states are subject to this level of government retention, none of the states east of the Mississippi. If it had meant to be this way, then the federal government would own/control an proportionate level of land in the eastern states. But, to paraphrase Edgar Cayce's words regarding the Bible, "You can read whatever you want into it, and I can read whatever I want out of it."

I think there are several very good reasons why it's not appropriate for the government to own so much land in any state -- and I'm sure if I looked, I could find many thoughtful and well researched articles making those points -- but the bottom line (no matter how you read the Constitution) is if the federal government is acting in the best interests of the people and the greater good for all. To me, the answer to that question is a resounding NO! Not just in terms of retaining valuable real estate that could -- and should in my opinion -- be available for homes to shelter the people as well as businesses and services to provide for the needs of the people, but especially in terms of how they are managing that land (threatening, bullying, intimidating and harrassing local property owners), and for what purposes (crony capitalist corporatism).

I do believe the founding fathers' original intent is important and vital to any discussion going forward, but whether we decide the Constitution does or does not include the government's power (NOT a "right" -- government has no rights) to retain lands, the Constitution does not PROHIBIT the disposal of these lands. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that demands the federal government retain ownership/control, and therefore we have every right to decide federal retention is not in our best interests (if only because the feds have shown repeatedly they cannot be trusted to be good stewards of the land), and demand the lands -- at least the majority -- be turned over to the states/people with appropriate and proper terms for its use. For example, homesteaders must keep the land for a minimum of years, and cannot sell it to foreign interests.

At the same time, I do believe national parks are a great idea, and should be retained, but perhaps with joint stewardship of the feds/state/locals. It would break my heart to see the breathtaking grandeur of Yosemite, for example, destroyed by development and turned into a cheesy tourist trap, or -- worse -- become a millionaire's enclave. Our natural wonders should and must be preserved for everyone's benefit as the national treasures they are.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 09:03 AM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie


Beyond this we should consider how it is legal that foreign financial interests can hold mortgages on property in the US. Ect



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 09:15 AM
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the constitution does not authorize the fed govt to do anything. the constitution is a document that lays out what the govt. can not do.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 09:24 AM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie

The US INC. has a constitution that differs from the united States for America's Constitution.
A for profit corp has been running "we the people" away from OUR true Constitutional rights since the gold grab in 1933.

A for profit Corp has been making money off the sweat of the citizens of this country. The UNITED STATES, INC. owns 10 miles that is Washington DC.

Don't believe me?

Www.annavonreitz.com

Research truth and share it.



posted on Feb, 17 2016 @ 09:26 AM
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a reply to: evenkeel

Which Constitution do you refer to? The one prior to 1871 or after?




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