, the leader of the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge who was arrested on federal conspiracy charges on January 26, is planning a courtroom defense that hinges on a bizarre and implausible legal argument that the U.S. government does not have authority over the public lands it manages.
A motion filed by Bundy’s lawyers explains that they will argue that the federal government does not have jurisdiction over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and therefore cannot prosecute him or the other occupants under laws governing federal property. Legal experts say that Bundy does not have the law on his side.
Not only does the property clause of the U.S. Constitution give Congress authority over federal property, the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that the U.S. government has authority over public lands “without limitation.”
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.