What the Constitution Says About Federal Land Holdings
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What the Constitution Says About Federal Land Holdings


Did you know that federal land is only mentioned in two places in the constitution? We’ll discuss what those are next. Article I section 8 clause 17 of the constitution is the “enclave clause.” It empowers the federal government to establish a national capital and, with the consent of a state, land areas known as “enclaves.” These are areas where much of the territory is titled to private parties, like in Washington DC. The key point is that this land is under federal, rather than state, jurisdiction. Enclaves can only be held for enumerated purposes, and the state where it’s established must consent to its creation. According to constitutional scholar Rob Natelson, enclaves are supposed to be very limited in size and scope, and the founders would not have approved most current federal land holdings as enclaves today. Article IV, section 3 clause 2 of the constitution is the “property clause.” Here, the federal government is delegated power to dispose of property, along with the power to regulate land it holds. The Feds retain complete control over territories, but once States are formed, the federal government has a duty to dispose of land. Again, even under the property clause, land can only be held and used for enumerated purposes. Here’s the short version: There is no power under the constitution for the feds to obtain and retain land for whatever they want. Like the supremacy clause, they’re only authorized to exercise power when done in pursuance of other delegated powers in the constitution. My name is Michael Boldin reporting for the Tenth Amendment Center. Thank you so much for watching.

6 Comments

  • Tenth Amendment Center

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  • MiMi SeeYou

    Thank you for covering this. So much land is being absorbed to protect endangered species: Joshua trees, birds, etc. I gathered from this video that if the states consent, it is then Constitutional? Thanks, Michael!

  • newstart49

    I always got yelled at and called an idiot for telling people this. I studied it intensely.
     The Gov has so many people brainwashed with "intention" crap to make it sound legal. They will state that the "intention" of the constitution was "this" or "that"- therefore making laws on their decided theories.
    There is so much more the fed does that is illegal, it would take a hundred years to correct.

  • MiMi SeeYou

    Michael, this is about Antiquities Act of 1906. Please check it out when you have 10 mins. Packed with verifiable info. Never heard of it until today. Have a good one. Thank ya.

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