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Comments about ‘Legal analysis supports Utah's law on getting federal land’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 2:10 p.m. MST

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EJM
Herriman, UT

It will never happen. You can have all the legal analysis you want but the Feds will not give "back" the land. But thank goodness for the Sutherland people. This makes for good entertainment.

Wanderer
West Jordan, UT

When you look at maps of eastern states and see how little of each state is controlled or "owned" by federal agencies and departments, and then look at maps of Utah and other western states and see how much is under federal control, you begin to wonder where the rationale for such inequality is coming from. Perhaps this law is moving in the right direction.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

How can other States claim land in Utah? The Constitution does not allow State to "subdivided". How can the Federal Government claim ownership? The Constitution only allows the Federal Government to "own" the small District of Columbia.

slave
American Fork, UT

My question is how the state of Utah would pay for the upkeep of this land. The history the state has put out is that they sell to the highest bidder when it comes to what once was public federal land swapped to free up closed parcels of education land. I find it interesting that Utah wants to control the land without the means to be good stewards of the land. We claim the ability to be self-sufficient but in reality more than half of the governor’s 2014 budget is Federal tax dollars. Only way the state could even come close to managing the land would be to sell it. The really sad part is that it would all end up being sold to foreign investors. Not America anymore.

gittalopctbi
Glendale, AZ

Yes, but the feds control 2/3rds of Utah land?!! That's absurd.

Petra
Sanpete County, UT

The Sutherland Institute? That's a political organization, not a research organization. We may not like it, but that land belongs to the Feds and was made that way as a condition if statehood. Unless Utah would rather be absorbed by the neighboring states.....(in which case, that land would still belong to the Feds....).

scrappy do
DRAPER, UT

you pay a lawyer a few bucks and he will say anything to show you have legal standing... just ask John Swallow, he will set you straight on that one

MormonDemocrat
Salt Lake City, UT

Sutherland's "consitutional scholar" graduated in 2007 from Wake Forest Law School, which just edges out Utah and BYU in the US News & Worl Report Top 40. It appears she runs her own firm in Arizona (not exactly the center of consitutional jurisprudence). Not saying she is not a smart woman, but that resume does not blow me away.

Wisconsin Moderate
GREENDALE, WI

The right wing Sutherland Institute is funded by corporations who would love to get their hands on this land. There is profit involved and they will be tireless in promoting this. Be careful.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Why Art. 1, 8, 17 was created: (from minutes from the constitutional convention)

On the residue, to wit, "to exercise like authority over all places purchased for forts &c.

Mr Gerry contended that this power might be made use of to enslave any particular State by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds proposed would be a means of awing the State into an undue obedience to the Genl. Government--

Mr. King thought himself the provision unnecessary, the power being already involved: but would move to insert after the word "purchased" the words "by the consent of the Legislature of the State" This would certainly make the power safe.

See also the 10th amendment and also the following land cases
WILSON V. COOK, 327 U. S. 474 (1946), UTAH DIV. OF STATE LANDS V. UNITED STATES, 482 U. S. 193 (1987), HAWAII ET AL. v. OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS ET AL., UNITED STATES V. SIOUX NATION OF INDIANS, 448 U. S. 371 (1980), FORT LEAVENWORTH R. CO. V. LOWE, 114 U. S. 525 (1885), POLLARD'S LESSEE V. HAGAN, 44 U. S. 212 (1845)

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

I got excited till I read the Sutherland Institute was behind this legal opinion. I thought it was someone with a understanding of real world law.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Much of the land in the West was acquired by war, by conquest.

What we know today as Utah was acquired by the US as a result of the Mexican-American war, in 1848. When LDS settlers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, this land was part of Mexico, specifically part of an expansive area known as "Alta California", or "Upper California".

Utah was obviously not a state at the time of acquisition - that did not occur until 48 years later, in 1896. So this land was acquired by the United States, as a byproduct of war.

How Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona were acquired is vastly different than how Virginia, or Pennsylvania were acquired, from a legal standpoint.

From a constitutional standpoint, I suppose you could make the case that Utah should not be in the US, since as Mike Richards points out, there is no provision in the Constitution for the method by which Utah was acquired, or perhaps for federal ownership of any land.

(The Louisiana Purchase was likewise unconstitutional, but I seriously doubt the residents of 15 states are going to allow it to be returned to France.)

Bebyebe
UUU, UT

No transfer to Utah. The local culture has no respect for it. They'll turn it over to mining or other corporate interest which will trash it. Then the state will go to the federal government groveling for funds to clean it up.

gittalopctbi, being in the state border doesn't make it 'Utah land'.

djc
Stansbury Park, Ut

Rather a misleading headline, perhaps if you had correctly identified the "legal analysis" as coming from a notoriously right wing anti-federal government organization; and stated that this is what would be expected from someone in this organization then the headline and attached article would have been been presented. To make it seem a big surprise that someone from the Sutherland Institute, whose charter says that Limited Government is a reflection of good government. Newspapers printing stuff like this as news is very disturbing

Beaver Native
St. George, UT

Utah's land grab would have the effect of taking away some of the ranchers' grazing privileges. Lots of prime BLM and forest grazing land would be sold to developers and investors. It's a losing situation from the perspective of the small, struggling cattle farmers. Glad my family no longer has to rely on the whims of the State. Again, the rich would benefit from taking from the poor.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

"slave"
Utah Constitution, Art. 18 and 20 define what happens to the land if we get it. That said, under WILSON V. COOK, 327 U. S. 474 (1946), Utah can already make money of anything removed from any public land, whether "claimed" by the feds or not. The feds are doing a poor job of managing our forests and we could do a better job. There is enough money that could be generated to take care of the land. Rep. Ivory's bill left on the table the national parks, etc. The feds would still borrow money from China to keep them up.

justamacguy
Manti, UT

@slave. The lands that SITLA has sold off were of no use to them because they were landlocked by Federal Ground which basically made them useless for grazing, mining or recreation. With larger blocks of land the management would become more practical. It would be a great advantage to wildlife to have the state, who owns the wildlife, to manage the habitat for that wildlife instead of the Fed's who could care less if the state has a deer herd. It would eliminate the radical environmentalist from filing law suits every time you wanted to do something positive for the range or forest lands. And with the proper use of the resources the state would have little problem paying for administering these lands when the revenue from recreation, minerals and forests comes back to the state.

worf
Mcallen, TX

@slave--what makes the feds better stewards of the land?

Like taxes, they're better at spending our money:

* fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, and nuclear technology, to other countries
* seventeen trillion dollar debt
* lavish vacations
* losing the war on poverty
* stimulus package yielding no shovel ready jobs
* millions to Solyndra, and no new solar panels

Powderski
Provo, UT

Asking the Sutherland Institute to comment on Federal Lands transfer is like asking a coyote to comment on chicken coop management.

These right-wingers can't even spell, let alone understand constitutional law. Here's is a verbatim statement from their web site statement on their core principles: "RELIGION | as the Moral Compass of Human Progeess." Obviously public school attendance is not one of the core principles of the Sutherland Institute.

Utah can't even fund or manage their own state parks. Grabbing federal land may be a pipe dream for moonshiners, militias, and anti-government fascists, but it is wrong-headed and will clearly not survive any constitutional test.

Jeff W.
El Paso Co, CO

Do you have a link to the actual analysis? I couldn't find one on the Sutherland Site.

Thanks.

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