Patrick Henry Caucus Does My Bidding

Okay, okay, the title is a little presumptuous.  They aren’t at my command, but they are doing something I asked them to do back in June.  In a state where roughly 67% of the land is owned by the Federal Government, we need to start claiming our state sovereignty.  We need to get our property back.

Well, thanks to Representative Chris Herrod and Representative Ken Sumsion, both members of the Patrick Henry Caucus, we may now have our property back.  They have put forth a bill that would fight the Federal Government and their control of our state.

The bill that Herrod and Sumsion have proposed “would give the state eminent domain power to take federal lands, including a coal-rich parcel in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument” and thus provide us with means to tax the land and raise funds for education in Utah.

Ultimately this bill would result in a lawsuit.  Ultimately, it would be expensive.  But I am willing to pay it.  The Federal Government has become the overbear bully of a big brother, and it needs to be reined in.  I have been perplexed about how to do this, since the formation of the Patrick Henry Caucus.

I was assured by members of the Patrick Henry Caucus that they had something planned, but couldn’t discuss it with me.  Now that I see their plans.  It is genius.

Eminent domain.

It is a wonderful slap in the face of the federal government.  I really have nothing to add to the conversation, but I had to voice my support for this bill.  I just hope that it will pass through, but I suspect it will take at least a couple of years before it will happen.


  1. I don’t have a problem with the lawsuit, but I have a huge problem with how they are paying for it. They are proposing taking $1M a year for who-knows-how-long from the revenue generated by the school trust lands. This revenue is constitutionally required to be deposited into the permanent state school fund to be held in trust for public education. Why should the school children be forced to pay for the Tea Partiers to make their point? That’s wrong. If you want to support this, find a better way to pay for it.

  2. Natalie: We feel like you saying you “don’t have a problem with this lawsuit…” would be like saying “I don’t have a problem with Washington and his minutemen fighting the British; I just wish I didn’t have to part with some of my precious funds for their battle.” To us, $1M is a penny-price to pay for our lands to be given back to us and a small fraction of the revenue could we reap should we be able to tap into OUR coal, oil, and gas deposits. Think of Alaska: they actually give a rebate to their citizens in lieu of tax.

    Travis: to fight the gov’t with their own poison of eminent domain? My hat is off to you. This is great!

    1. Nacilbupera, don’t tip your at at me. Rather give Rep. Chris Herrod and Rep. Ken Sumsion a call or email and let them know that you like what they have done. I just wanted the fight. I wasn’t smart enough to figure out a way to do it.

  3. You may be able to overturn 200 years of land use law, but I can’t imagine that anyone wants to try to overturn 200 years of trust law first. It’s better to find an alternate funding source. My sources tell me a different source is in the works. Let’s wait and see.

  4. Can someone please explain how a STATE can use “eminent domain” against the federal government? Eminent domain is a principle whereby a governmental entity takes PRIVATE property for a public use (or in some cases, state/local property is taken by the Federal Gov’t). Federal land isn’t private property. I’ve spent the last year at BYU Law studying Land Use Planning, Public Lands, and Natural Resources, and while I’ve read tens of cases, I have yet to find one where eminent domain was used against the federal government. Seems like a loser to me…

    1. This would be the first case of it’s kind. It is using past laws against private citizens to use it against the Federal Government. While eminent domain is part of the whole process there is more to it.

      You have obviously studied the law more than me. I haven’t studied this particular bill well enough to explain how it will work. It didn’t pass this session. I am sure there are a lot of details that need to be hammered out. But the concept is a good one.

  5. I would just add a couple thoughts on the comments being made as the sponsor of the bills. The bills did pass & the AG is empowered to take possession (that is what eminent domain is) of two roads on federal property that we are denied access across to our school trust properties. The attorneys we worked with (bunch of them) thought eminent domain was implied but to absolutely clarify it we specifically put it our state statue. The details behind the bills takes 30 minutes to explain over the phone so I will not go into all the detail.

    Let me just ask, where in the US Constitution does the federal gov’t have eminent domain authority? It isn’t there but even better in Article I Section 8 we have the military enclave clause. We also have some very interesting (bad) current eminent domain US Supreme Court rulings in the past few years that can be used in our arguments.

    I am not an attorney & the attorneys when we first started to work with them thought we were nuts until they started to follow the arguments & several other court cases out there that strengthen our position. Second, we have an enabling act & have court cases & historical documents, etc that shine a light on what was the agreement of our entering into the Union.

    One case of importance is the 1979 Cotter (may have misspelled) case in Federal District Court which Utah won.

    As to the trust comments. Somebody doesn’t understand Utah’s history of the School Trust Lands from statehood until present and they don’t understand our State Constitution in relationship with how STILA is managed and funds are appropriated along with our state’s statue in this area.

    I always like the ‘we want billions of dollars for free mentality’. Mediocre is good I guess? We are the lowest per pupil funded education system in the country. One of the main reasons for that is our state’s enabling act has be violated by the feds denying us (our children) access to those revenues. If we succeed we change the whole paradigm of how we fund education in our state.

    The appropriation was shifted from the STILA Revenues where it should have come from to some other mineral lease monies.

    I am glad to answer any questions regarding these bills.

    I don’t intend this to sound mean but say it with a smile. We have court precedent because somebody filed a lawsuit–it might have been 5 years ago or 200 but none the less somebody filed a suit. Nobody ever thought to eminent domain federal property–partly because it was suppose to have been sold (history, precedent) and that is what we agreed to in section 9 of our state’s enabling act.

    We win the feds will be negotiating with us not us with them. If we reestablish (don’t know that that is a legal term) the Cotter case we win just smaller billions.

    1. Thank you Representative Sumsion for your comments. I know that I now have a greater understanding of this bill. I am glad that you were able to pass it, and I look forward to it’s implementation. I hope that other reader’s will understand it better too.

So, What do you think?