By Rex Rammell, GOP gubernatorial candidate
The Tenth Amendment states that all powers not explicitly delegated to the federal government belong to the states. In other words, if a power is not defined within the body of the Constitution that power belongs to the states.
Having grown up near Yellowstone Park, I always wondered how the federal government claimed authority over not just Yellowstone, but the millions and millions of acres controlled by the BLM and Forest Service when there is no authority that can be found in the Constitution.
Article 1, Section 8 (Powers of Congress), Clause 17 (Federal Property) defines what land the federal government can own.
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 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;
It should be clear that Clause 17 limits the kind of property the federal government can own. “Ten Miles square”, which we know as Washington D.C., “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yarks”, which we know as military bases scattered throughout America and “other needful Buildings,” we know as post offices, federal court building, and other needful federal buildings to administer their defined powers.
No where in Clause 17 does it state the federal government can control, let alone own, 28% of the United States we know as BLM, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Park Service, and other lands. It just isn’t there!!!
Furthermore, to emphasize the federal governments defined and limited powers the Founders added the Bill of Rights in which we find the 10th Amendment.
We must conclude the federal government unconstitutionally controls the public lands, which means all of the policies enacted and enforced by the federal government are unlawful.
I also wondered if they held the public lands unconstitutionally, how many other powers, i.e., education, health care, etc. were powers that rightly belonged to the states. There are no powers defined for them either.
I concluded that according to the10th Amendment the solution to many of America’s problems was for the states to take the powers back. Simple right?
Not so simple as the federal government, currently controlled by the Democrats, does not recognize or care about this usurpation of power. So how would the states take back power from an unwilling federal government?
I think there is only one way. A governor with the vision and the courage to deny the federal government powers that rightfully belong to the states, could start a states rights revolution that would sweep through the nation and force the federal government back into its “limited” constitutional role.
Wyoming is in a unique position to be that state. It is very clear that there is a war against fossil fuels in the name of climate change, even though the science does not support it.
It is also very clear, whatever their true motive is, they mean to see it through. A moratorium on new fossil fuel leases on public lands was executed immediately after Joe Biden was inaugurated.
Most of the fossil fuels in Wyoming come off public lands. Upwards of 70% of Wyoming’s tax base comes directly or indirectly from fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels Wyoming will either have to become a high tax state or cut government services to the bare minimum or both.
Most Wyomingites have an aversion to high taxes. Wyomingites also seem to like a lot of government services. This is a major problem that I believe presents an unprecedented opportunity in the history of the United States; a state with its back against the wall that will not accept high taxes or a decrease in government services. I believe Wyoming is ready to fight.
Wyoming is known for its so-called “rugged individualism” despite its addiction to government money. The trillion dollar question is will they elect a governor who will make a states right stand that will result in 30 million acres of public lands being taken over by the state and giving the fossil fuel industry the green light to produce.
If elected governor, I will sign an executive order on Day 1 ordering the state police to walk all federal land managers out of their offices. The BLM, The Forest Service, The Park Service, U.S Fish and Wildlife, and others….GONE!
Wyoming will finally become a sovereign state on equal footing with the original thirteen states as guaranteed by the Northwest Ordinance. Wyoming will then be in control of all the natural resources and the billions and billions of dollars, maybe trillions, that go with them.
But what about Wyoming’s enabling act? Didn’t Wyoming give up all claim to the title of the unappropriated land (30 million acres)? Yes; we did, but the Act also requires the Federal government to dispose (sell) of the land, which they never did. So in my mind the question isn’t who owns it, but rather who should control it. I think the 10th Amendment clearly gives the power to Wyoming and that it should stay “no man’s land” only to be used for the benefit of the people who choose to live in Wyoming.
This brings me to my final point. Does the governor have authority to nullify an unconstitutional act and how would he do that? The Wyoming Constitution states the governor, “…shall take care that all laws be faithfully executed.” Is there any greater responsibility than making sure the Constitution be faithfully executed?
If I get elected and I do sign an executive order on Day 1 ordering the state police to seize all unappropriated lands, what happens on Day 2 besides a huge celebration in Wyoming?
Day 2 or shortly after we take control of the 30 million acres I would expect to receive a summons to go to federal court in the case of The United States v. The State of Wyoming. Some people think that all matters in the United States if pursued far enough end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. This thinking, however, is wrong.
The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. The Constitution only applies in matters where the federal government has defined powers. In other words, if no power is found in The U.S. Constitution then the federal courts do not have jurisdiction over it.
When they summon us to court, we simply do not go. The second we recognize their jurisdiction in the courts we recognize it over the land and we’re back to square one.
Lastly, I believe when Wyoming makes this move the other western states will join and a states rights revolution will begin that the federal government will not be able to stop. America will return to a limited centralized government as the Founders originally intended and put in the Constitution.