Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has long held the federal government should not own land, and that public lands within states belongs to the states. Bundy brought suit seeking a court agreement with such ideas, but a Nevada judge ruled against him this week.
Bundy wanted the court to order that Nevada’s federally owned lands are the property of the state and to force the state and Clark County to defend Bundy’s land rights on his Bunkerville ranch.
“It is painfully obvious that the claims asserted by Bundy in the instant matter rest upon a fundamentally flawed notion advanced by Bundy since 1998 regarding ownership of federal public lands,” District Judge Jim Crockett wrote in an eight-page decision.
The decision was in response to court papers filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, which had intervened in the case.
“It is simply delusional to maintain that all public land within the boundaries of Nevada belongs to the state of Nevada,” Crockett said.
Bundy spent two years in jail facing criminal charges after a standoff in 2014 with the BLM at his Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch. Last year he filed a suit against Nevada and Clark County that former President Barack Obama’s establishment of Gold Butte National Monument was illegal and would prevent him from operating his ranch and destroy his livelihood. In January 2018, all charges were dismissed against Bundy.
Kieran Suckling, executive director for the Center for Biological Diversity, was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“Hopefully it puts to bed forever Cliven Bundy’s kooky conspiracy theories about a federal government not being able to own public land,” Suckling said. “This is the one and only court system that Cliven claims is valid and he will respect. This should put his extremist belief to the test.”