Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has refiled a lawsuit against Nevada and Clark County Governments, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Bundy wants the courts to order that Nevada’s federally owned lands are the property of the state and to force the state and county to defend Bundy’s land rights on his Bunkerville ranch.
The suit claims that the establishment of Gold Butte National Monument by former president Barack Obama in late 2016 was “as illegal as it is unlawful,” and would preclude Bundy from continuing to function on his land and destroy his livelihood.
Bundy was in federal custody at the time the national monument was established, facing charges for the 2014 standoff between Bureau of Land Management and Bundy’s family and supporters over unpaid grazing fees the rancher had refused to pay since the early 1990s. Bundy and several co-defendants were charged in 2016 in connection with the standoff, but a federal judge dismissed the case in January.
The refiled lawsuit cites various historical precedents, including the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago and quotes from James Madison during the first drafting of the U.S. Constitution, to claim that Nevada’s vast swaths of federal land (nearly 85 percent of the state’s landmass) should belong to and be governed by the state.
In a statement, environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity’s Nevada state Director Patrick Donnelly said the lawsuit was Bundy’s attempt to turn the national monument area into his “personal fiefdom.”