Last Chance to Stop Insane Unconstitutional Bills

Sagebrush Rebellion

Rep. Ivory’s H.B. 148 – Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study and Rep. Barrus’ H.J.R. 3 – Joint Resolution on Federal Transfer of Public Lands passed a final vote in the Utah Senate yesterday. These bills are now headed to the Governor’s desk, and may actually be signed into law.

As One Utah readers know, this unconstitutional legislation issues a demand to the federal government to transfer all public lands within Utah, national parks included, to the state by the end of 2014. If Congress fails to comply, the bills would allocate $3 million to begin litigation to force the federal government to relinquish ownership of the land.

Once again, our legislature has embarrassed the state by passing crazy bills that violate the Constitution. There will be a Rally to Restore Sanity tonight at the State Capitol building at 5:30 pm.

More info: The Sagebrush Gang Rides Again?

  1. #1 by brewski on March 7, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Insane unconstitutional bills? You mean like the ACA and its associated mandates? Get ready for a bitch slapping from the SCOTUS.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on March 7, 2012 - 10:46 am

    The ACA is not unconstitutional. These land grab bills, however, violate both the U.S. and Utah Constitutions. And I call them “insane” because the current system of federal ownership of public lands beats any possible state-level management scheme. The State of Utah now receives an average of $35.7 million annually from national forests and BLM public lands, despite the fact that land uses such as grazing and logging routinely lose money. Only energy development, particularly oil & gas drilling, is profitable from the land management standpoint.

    Yet Utah legislators have gotten the idea that they can generate $2.5 billion a year in new revenues by seizing federal land. What are they going to do, charge national park visitors $500 each?

  3. #3 by brewski on March 7, 2012 - 11:56 am

    We shall see. I have yet to find where in the constitution the federal government can (1) mandate that I buy a product from a private company, and (2) mandate that the federal government can mandate that a religious organization do something that is against their beliefs.

    Actually, liberals should pray that SCOTUS shoots this whole thing down since if they do we will be one step closer to single payer. If SCOTUS says that somehow the federal government can demand that I eat spinach and exercise every day, then we will be stuck with the worst system anyone could dream up in their worst nightmare. Remember, the CBO estimates that ACA will result in FEWER people being covered by their employer’s plan compared to doing nothing. Nice job Obama. This is why I have asked for any evidence as to how Obama is smart. I still see no evidence of this oft-repeated assertion.

  4. #4 by Richard Warnick on March 7, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    The individual private health insurance mandate is constitutional, under the Commerce Clause. I still think it’s a bad idea, and that the ACA is worse than doing nothing to solve our health care crisis. Remember that Senator Orrin Hatch and many other proponents of the individual mandate never saw a problem with constitutionality until they switched their position.

    If you believe in individual rights, then it makes no sense to allow employers to impose their religious views on employees, who may not share those views. That’s the opposite of freedom.

    Now, what say you about public lands? Does it make sense for politicians who claim to revere the Constitution to turn around and ignore it to suit their convenience?

  5. #5 by brewski on March 7, 2012 - 1:44 pm

    Wow, a staff ed from the LA Slime (my former employer) with no author, no case references and no citations. Nice job. Speaking of credibility.

    On the other hand:

    In my view, however, concluding that the individual mandate is authorized by the Commerce Clause because it regulates a decision that has some economic impact is essentially equivalent to concluding that Congress’ power is unlimited. Virtually any decision to do or not do anything has economic effects, if only because it necessarily implies a decision not to devote the same time and effort to participation in some market. I outlined this logic more fully in my original post, and Orin has yet to challenge it.

    It is, of course, true that modern Commerce Clause jurisprudence has given Congress extremely broad authority, in my view mistakenly. That, however, does not mean that there are no limits that are “significant.” If the Court merely wanted to insist on utterly insignificant limits, why did it put so much effort into cases like Morrison and Lopez, and why have the conservative justices, including key swing voter Justice Kennedy, repeatedly emphasized the importance of those limits? “To be sure, those limits are still “insignificant” with respect to the vast majority of possible regulations that Congress might want to enact. With the individual mandate, however, Congress has managed to blunder into one of the few remaining areas where doctrinal limits on the Commerce power still have some bite. It did so by targeting something that can’t be defined as regulable “activity” without collapsing the remaining limits on the scope of that concept.

    Even more to the point, both the Court majority and Justice Kennedy have specifically rejected the claim that Congress can regulate something merely because doing so has some economic effect, which is the central premise of the argument I have been criticizing. After all, carrying a gun in a school zone affects various markets in a variety of ways pointed out by Justice Breyer in his Lopez dissent. The majority justices did not deny that those effects exist, but nonetheless concluded that the Gun Free School Zones Act was unconstitutional. As Kennedy put it in his Lopez concurrence, “any conduct in this interdependent world of ours has an ultimate commercial origin or consequence,” which is why the mere presence of economic motives or effects is not enough to justify congressional regulation under the Commerce Clause. If it were, then Congress’ commerce power would indeed be unlimited.”

    ILYA SOMIN is an Associate Professor at George Mason University School of Law. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy. Somin currently serves as Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review, one of the country’s top-rated law and economics journals. His work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Critical Review, and others. He has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Newark Star Ledger, Orlando Sentinel, South China Morning Post, Legal Times, National Law Journal and Reason. He has been quoted or interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, and the Voice of America, among other media. In July 2009, he testified on property rights issues at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Somin writes regularly for the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog.
    During the Fall 2008 semester, he served as visiting professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Somin has previously been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before joining the faculty at George Mason, he was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School in 2002-2003. In 2001-2002, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Professor Somin earned his B.A., Summa Cum Laude, at Amherst College, M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University, and J.D. from Yale Law School.

    Employers are not imposing their religious views on their employees. Period. The government is mandating that employers pay for someone else’s voluntary choices which they can easily do so on their own. Speaking of credibility.

    The only argument which could be made, which has been tried in the past and failed, with regard to Federal lands is the “equal footing” doctrine. How is it equal footing that the Federal government owns 68% of Utah, but 0.4% of New York? I am sure Utah will get nowhere with this. These things can be explained more as being pandering to local voters and supporters than having a strong case or likelihood of success. Valentine is a piece of shit. By the way, the bill passed by the Utah senate specifically excludes National Parks and all designated wilderness. So your comment about $500 National Park fees is baseless. Speaking of credibility.

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on March 7, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    The editorial quoted a District Court ruling in Michigan, and cited two other rulings. I’m sure you know that it’s standard practice for newspaper editorials to be unsigned.

    I still think it’s remarkable that Republicans who once loudly championed the individual health insurance mandate now claim to believe it’s unconstitutional. How could they have been so wrong?

    Do employers pay for health insurance? I don’t know about you, but my health insurance takes a big bite out of my paycheck. Under the provisions of the Blunt Amendment, if your employer is a Christian Scientist you might end up with no coverage at all. And how do you account for plans that cover Viagra but not contraception?

    If you read H.J.R. 3 it “demands that the federal government transfer title of the public lands within Utah’s borders directly to the state of Utah.” There is no exception for national parks and wilderness areas, only a statement that the legislature “intends” to cede them back to the federal government at some unspecified future time. And how will it be possible to designate additional national parks and wilderness areas if there are no public lands left?

    Western states share revenue from the public lands without having to pay the costs of management. I would say that gives them an advantage over states like New York (where I was born). In fact, Utah receives more money from the federal government than our state pays in taxes, while New York gets back less.

  7. #7 by brewski on March 7, 2012 - 4:04 pm

    I still think it’s remarkable that Republicans who once loudly championed the individual health insurance mandate now claim to believe it’s unconstitutional. How could they have been so wrong?

    I thought you thought they are always wrong. So you are right.

    Do employers pay for health insurance? I don’t know about you, but my health insurance takes a big bite out of my paycheck.

    Large employer plans generally have 70-80% on the employer tab.

    And how do you account for plans that cover Viagra but not contraception?

    I have not been arguing what is good or bad to have included in any insurance plan. I am arguing against telling someone what they MUST have in their plan by royal edict. But I could see it happen if an employer decided to drop Viagra from their coverage that a new lobby would be created to force a new mandate requiring all plans to include Viagra as a matter of protecting “men’s health”. Then there would be a new “War on Men” and panels convened featuring women only.

  8. #8 by cav on March 7, 2012 - 8:36 pm


  9. #9 by Larry Bergan on March 8, 2012 - 12:34 am

    Done: indeed!

  10. #10 by Richard Warnick on March 22, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    Gov. Herbert will sign the unconstitutional land grab attempt tomorrow. The rest of the USA will have a good laugh at our expense (literally, because this will cost Utah taxpayers $3 million).

  11. #11 by Larry Bergan on March 22, 2012 - 8:50 pm

    3 Million is a pittance compared to the taxpayers money Herbert has wasted on the voting machine circus and the coming internet voting scam.

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