Rancher Cliven Bundy has been making headlines across America for several years. In a
dramatic standoff between the ranchers of Nevada and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management)
this government overreach has alerted Americans to the ever-present and continually growing
power of the government that is SUPPOSED to be serving them, not dominating them.
Here is a quick synopsis of the Bundy case; Cliven Bundy and his family live on a ranch in
Nevada. They own herds of cows and other cattle, and since 1877 have been grazing their
animals on federal land that they paid fees and fines to use. Despite contracts and agreements
with the Bundy family, the government decided to close off the land as a conservation area to
protect a species of turtles.
Cliven Bundy and his family would lose everything if they were kicked off of that land, and
eventually became the last rancher standing. Other ranchers in the area gave in to government
pressure and evacuated, all of the miners were thrown out, and all that remained was Cliven
Bundy and his cattle.
In April of 2012, the BLM abandoned it’s plan to remove the cattle, but the Center For
Biological Diversity threatened to sue them if they DIDN’T remove the cattle.
In August of 2013, a federal court gave Bundy 45 days to remove his cattle, but again, Bundy
In April of 2014, the Bureau of Land Management informed Bundy that he owed $1,000,000 in
fines, although at the most he couldn’t have owed more than $300,000.
The BLM began to seize Bundy cattle with the intention of auctioning it off later. Bundy’s son
Dave was arrested for refusing to evacuate the land, prompting Cliven Bundy to post on his
website on April 6th 2014, “They have my cattle and now they have one of my boys. Range War
This message brought a flood of protestors to the ranch to stand with Bundy and his family.
Locals, fellow ranchers, and outer state groups flocked to the Bundy ranch to stand with the family against the overreach of government that savored bitterly of tyranny. Eventually, BLM
retreated from the area out of “grave concern about the safety of employees and members of the
Later that month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid addressed the issue. He referred to Bundy and his supporters as “domestic terrorists” for exercising their Second Amendment right to bear
arms. “We are not terrorists, we are concerned citizens and realize we have to act if we want to
pass along anything to our children.” Clive Bundy said in response to liberal name-calling,
branding him as a domestic terrorist and a member of “ya’ll Qaeda.”
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their
people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” -Thomas Jefferson
Shiree Bundy Cox, Cliven Bundy’s daughter, provides insight on the situation and how it came
about; “My great grandpa bought the rights to the Bunkerville allotment back in 1887 around
there. Then he sold them to my grandpa who then turned them over to my dad in 1972. These
men bought and paid for their rights to the range and also built waters, fences and roads to assure the survival (sic) of their cattle, all with their own money, not with tax dollars… to keep the cows from over grazing, came the bureau of land management. They were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which
was to be used to pay the BLM wages and to help with repairs and improvements of the ranches. My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve. Instead they began using these money’s against the ranchers.”
Going against the Constitution, American laws, and contracts, the government took drastic steps to deal with the Bundy, ruin their livelihood, and confiscate their land.
Congressional Research Service issued a haughty report, informing Bundy and his fellow
ranchers that the government was acting entirely legally, and that it rightfully owns the land. So
much for a government “established among men deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed.”
In the 45th Federalist Paper, James Madison stated “The powers delegated by the proposed
Constitution to the federal government are few and defined… The [federal powers] will be
exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce… the powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order,
improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
In a nutshell, this means that the Federal Government shouldn’t be involved in local land
ownership. That falls under the jurisdiction of individual states.
In a gross abuse of power, the CRS (Congressional Research Service) claims that the government has the rights to the land based on their ability to create states. This is entirely the opposite of
what Madison wrote, and there is absolutely nothing Constitutionally just about the federal
government stealing land that is already part of a State and taking full control of it. The
government is using precedent as their authority to seize the Bundy land, not genuine legality.
Cliven Bundy and his family had legal access to the land for decades throughout their family
history. When the government dishonored their contract and imposed fees on the family, the
Bundy’s stood their ground. However, the government is rarely satisfied with compromise and
soon informed the family that they would no longer have access to the land despite contracts, the fees that had been paid, and American law. They mildly referenced a need to protect the rare species of turtle that lived on the land, but proceeded to take action to expel the Bundy family that would have been detrimental to the turtles. It’s obvious that turtles were a weak excuse on the part of the government to evict the Bundy family.
About halfway through this legal battle, the endangered tortoise species was no longer
endangered. The reason for confiscating the land no longer existed, but the BLM and federal
government continued to prosecute and harass the Bundy family, proving that this was never
about environment, cattle herds, turtles, or ranchers. For the government, it was always about
nationalizing private property and taking from the American people. This was a fight about American liberty, American law, and a government that is completely disregarding the
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an
instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” -Patrick Henry
In January 2018 Judge Gloria Navarro, a generally liberal and Obama-appointed judge no less,
dismissed the case with prejudice meaning that there can be no retrial. Cliven Bundy was
released, and the Bundy family was able to return to their home and continue to graze their
cattle on the land they have rightful access to.
Judge Navarro observed that the government held back important information proving that the
Bundys weren’t violent, documents showing that cattle grazing “hadn’t threatened the desert
tortoise,” and she stated that “The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated.”
Among the evidence that was unreported by the BLM were records about the presence of
government snipers at the Bundy ranch, law-enforcement assessments dating all the way back to 2012 that recorded that the Bundy’s were no threat, surveillance records at the Bundy ranch, and
internal affairs reports about misconduct by Bureau of Land Management agents. This alone proves that the government cannot be counted on to maintain integrity. BLM agents were willing to lie, smother evidence, and prosecute an innocent man and his family to further a big-government agenda.
Dismissing a federal prosecution is a rare act for a federal judge, and even rarer is the left-wing
judge who justly defends the right-wing defense. Judge Navarro obviously understood her legal
duties and judged the case based on the American Constitution, not her own prejudice.
The FBI’s sordid history of withholding and destroying evidence was on full display in this case
and it deserves a reckoning. If it weren’t for lead BLM investigator turned whistleblower named
Larry Wooten who stated that BLM chose “the most intrusive, oppressive, large-scale and militaristic trespass cattle (seizure) possible” against Bundy, much of this may have gone unnoticed. It seems appropriate that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would pursue charges against the directors heading up this travesty of an investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordered a formal investigation into how the Justice Department went sideways in Nevada.
Until the feds cease wrongfully abusing their targets, there will be no rebound in trust in Washington.
Cliven Bundy and his family are finally free to return to their simple American dream after years
of nightmarish government overreach and persecution. Final freedom and victory is to be
applauded but it doesn’t change the fact that people were wrongfully imprisoned for 18 months
and financially destroyed.
“When the people are ready to stand for themselves, there will be no need for us and we can go
home.” Cliven Bundy said in an interview on Fox News. For him and his family, this fight was
never about cows or turtles. It was about preserving American freedom, and defending American liberty against an increasingly tyrannical government. Absolute Patriots such as Cliven Bundyand his family are the people who will preserve freedom for the next generation.
The Bundy story is a reminder to all Americans that liberty must be protected from the government, it must be fought for, and to maintain it, an absolute patriot will often have to take a stand.