Letter to the Editor: Time to understand proper role and function of government

Let’s talk about Oregon. It’s not about the Hammonds and it’s not about the Bundys. It’s time to stop being directed and led by the media. It’s time to stop being directed and led by the federal government’s whims. It’s time to know the facts. This is about a federal government that is operating outside the Supreme Law of the land. The people are not acting lawlessly; it is the federal government that is acting lawlessly.

The federal government has no authority to own any land outside Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, that says the federal government’s only authority to own land is 10 square miles for Washington, D.C., and the amount of land necessary to operate forts and ports at the permission of the states. If the states don’t want the forts and ports anymore, they have the authority to withdraw the permission.

The only other section that someone could claim is Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2, that deals with territories, and then, further expounds on the application of the ownership of land that we talked about in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17. Let’s be very clear about this territories thing. Go read the U.S. Constitution. “Territory” is capitalized; this is a proper noun with a specific meaning, and the federal government owns no territory within the continental United States.

Territory is not even land that the government owns; it is land that the government holds in trust for the states. Once a state petitions to become a state and a member of the Union, that is no longer a territory, and the federal government has no authority over it. That state then becomes an independent, free and sovereign government. It’s called “the equal footing doctrine”; even the Supreme Court of the United States upholds this doctrine: it says that every State that enters the Union enters on the same footing as the first 13.

Go read the Declaration of Independence; you’ll see what that footing is. Independent, free and sovereign — you cannot be a territory and be sovereign. You cannot be a state and still be a territory. The federal government has no lawful control over any land in the states outside forts and ports and 10 square miles for Washington, D.C. Where in the U.S. Constitution is the authority for the Bureau of Land Management? I challenge anyone, because you cannot. There is no authority for the federal government to dictate to the states or the people how they operate their land.

Do not recite to me “executive order”; there is no phone or pen big enough to alter the Constitution. Do not recite to me “Congressional Act”; Congress cannot pass laws to alter the Constitution outside the Article V amendment process. Article 6, Section 2, Clause 2, says that no law made contrary to the Constitution is valid. Alexander Hamilton said the same thing in Federalist Papers 33: “No law contrary (outside) to the Constitution is a valid law at all.”

The Bureau of Land Management, the federal government controlling our land, is a law that is lawless. It is outside the Constitution. Do not recite to me “the Supreme Court said this or that” because the Supreme Court does not have the constitutional authority to expand the power of the federal government or create new powers; that is not the role of the Supreme Court. They don’t even have the power to be the ultimate arbiters of the U.S. Constitution.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, tells us in 1798, as he is arguing before the ratification of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of the United States is not above the states, it cannot make law, and it is not the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution. The ultimate arbiters are the states themselves. The states are the creators of the contract; they are the drafters of the contract; they are the ones who actually ratified the contract and created the federal government.

The states are the creators of the federal government; therefore, they are the controllers of the federal government. It’s time for us to understand the proper role and function of government. Do not recite to me Marbury v. Madison; that is circular logic. The Supreme Court cannot create an opinion that expands its own power. When the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of its own power and its own authority, that is not a Constitutional Republic created by the people; that is an oligarchy where the power rests within the government itself.

James Madison said, “When the government controls the property of the people, that is not a just government.” We need to realize this is a constitutional republic: a government instituted among men, deriving its just power from the consent of the governed. If the federal government is not defined by the Constitution, then, why do we have one? If the federal government is not limited in its power by the Constitution, what is the limit of the federal government in its power?

If the federal government can dictate to the people and to the states how and when they can use their land, you are not freemen — freemen have control over their property — and when government dictates how you operate your property, the only thing missing in servitude are the physical chains. This is not about the Bundys or the Hammonds; it’s about maintaining the integrity of the U.S. Constitution and defending a Constitutional Republic and making a defined and limited federal government that is under the power of the people in the states. So, it’s up to us to decide.

Do we get land by the nose of the media narrative? Do we get controlled by the oligarchical power of the federal government? Do we declare ourselves freemen, as our Constitution says we are? Its time to know the facts and stand for the truth. It is not about a person or people. It is about Liberty, power of the People and a limited and defined government. Do you want a Constitutional Republic where the states are sovereign and independent and the people control the government, or do you want a totalitarian oligarchy that can determine what power it can have and use that power with a phone or a pen or a law? Do you want to stand for what is right and true?

I don’t care what your politicians say or what your favorite political candidates say, either; the U.S. Constitution is the foundation of America, and if the federal government can set that aside, there is no limit on it at all. It is time, America, to defend Liberty, and that will only happen when the people know truth and put the federal government back in its limited and defined box. It’s time to make that decision. “If the people wish to be ignorant and free, they wish for what never was and what never will be.” We are the holders of the power and the owners of our property, and when a government dictates property, we are nothing but tributary slaves.

Robert Duff


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