Terry Moores’ letter (Journal, May 30) demonstrates perfectly why we are losing our constitutional republic. In regards to federal ownership of “public lands,” he either has not read the pertinent provisions or, more likely, chooses to reinterpret them. Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution authorizes and limits federal ownership of land to only “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings,” with the consent of the state legislature.
This, along with Article 4, Section 3, was mostly obeyed when new states were carved out of “Territory or Property” east of the Mississippi and the federal government properly disposed of property within the boundary of the new state. Ever since 1828 (American Ins. Co. vs. 356 Bales of Cotton), and as recently as 2009 (Hawaii vs. Office of Hawaiian Affairs), the Supreme Court has held that the federal government must follow the States’ Enabling Acts and “extinguish title” to the territorial holdings, within the boundaries of said state, in order for that state to be fully “on equal footing” with the original thirteen.
Moores’ statement that “laws and court decisions that protect the government’s right to land ownership are the very same ones that protect ... private property” turns our founding documents on their heads. Article 6, Paragraph 2, the ‘Supremacy Clause’, might be his reference here. The ruling phrase “This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof’ is ignored on a regular basis. This phrase is the original nullification theory. The corollary must be that if a law or court decision is not in furtherance of (complies with) the Constitution it must be null and void.
Finally, let us not follow Moores’ lead. Let us rather actually read the original documents, in the original language, and with the supporting documentation our founders provided. Only in this way can we restore our republic.