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Hold It A Minute…

constitutionThe Congress shall have Power 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 the 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… Article I, § 8 of the US Constitution.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution

Frankly, the reading of these two portions of the highest law of the land, the Constitution could not be clearer. The Federal government must have the legislative condent of a state to own property within that state’s borders.

This clear requirement has been completely ignored by the Federal government for over a century and a brewing problem in California is illustrative of the need for states to reassert their authorities as guaranteed in the  1oth Amendment.  You see, California is bankrupt. And as part of that bankruptcy they are discussing the closure of state parks. According to an AP story

California officials said Wednesday they are trying to avert the federal government’s threat to seize six parks that could be closed to help reduce the state’s ballooning budget deficit

Seize the land by what authority, you might be asking? According to the story-

National Park Service Regional Director Jonathan Jarvis warned in a letter to that all six [stste parks] occupy former federal land that could revert to the U.S. government if the state fails to keep the parks open.

The article quotes Jarvis as writing…

…”Lands conveyed to the State under the Federal Lands to Parks Program must be open for public park and recreation use in perpetuity as a condition of the deed”

Did you catch that? Formerly Federal land, deeded to the state with a caveat? A caveat that the Federal government is prohibited from making? Well, how’s it forbidden from making the caveat, you might be asking?

Since the  state of California has the authority under the two sections of the Constitution stated to simply revoke the permission granted the Federal government to own the land, this caveat is legally meaningless. There is nothing legally from keeping the State of California from simply seizing any particular piece of, or in fact all of, the Federal property in California by a simple act of the California legislature.

In reality it would be foolish for California to seize, for instance, the San Diego Navy Yard. But the Constitution is clear that it is permitted to do so (they might have to give “just compensation” per the 5th Amendment, but of course the US Supreme Court has a terrible track record on arbitrary seizures and property values, so that could work in California’s favor) and that means if they wish they can simply brush Mr. Jarvis’ protestations to the contrary aside as one would a pesky blood-sucking mosquito.

How does this effect Ohio’s public policy? Ohio currently has a “Sovereignty Resolution” before the State Senate, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 13. In it Ohio merely proclaims that it retains the rights and responsibilities of a sovereign state and intends to use them to make Ohio a place where its citizens can feel free from the over-reach of Federal authority. Like, for instance, forcing the state to keep parks open when it is bankrupt at its own expense.

Just another reason Ohio needs to remind the Federal government that it is a sovereign state.

Posted in Commentary, Economics, Public Policy Principles News, Public Policy Radar.