News & Notes: Judge Tells Utah to Back Off


mike nabbIf you’re speeding on a county road in Utah, does a Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management ranger have the legal right to stop and give you a ticket? The state of Utah says no, and it just passed a law formalizing its position. But don’t get excited, it’s not your back that Utah’s covering; the legislation is just one more skirmish on the never-ending western battle over “state’s rights,” which is just another term for Utah putting itself ahead of the country.

The feds, of course, disagree with Utah, and a judge agreed with them. On Monday, Judge David Nuffer in Salt Lake City blocked the law, which was specifically written to prevent BLM and Forest Service personnel from upholding state laws. If you were a lawmaker, you’d think you’d want any available ranger or cop to uphold your rules, especially in the remote rural hinterlands where fuzz are few and far between. But no.

“That is an overstepping of their authority,” said state Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who sponsored the new law. “If we can’t stop this, how do we stop them from encroaching on any area of states’ rights and matters of federalism?”

You’re right, Mike. Next thing you know, the feds might want to prevent drilling in national parks and driving your ATV in wilderness. Oh, wait.

Via Salt Lake Tribune

{ 14 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Jay Jurkowitsch

    GREAT final comment…. Nice to see that UT has SO much money to WASTE on law suits and Hassling the Fed’s. If ALL these secessionists REALLY How much money each States gets from the Federal Gov’t and if Each UT citizen Really knew What they get/benefit from the Fed’s – Maybe they’d SHUT UP and play well together!

  • Glenn

    I spent 2011 as an intern in the utah legislature. Believe me they know exactly how much money the fed hands them. They talk a big secessionist game, and definitely don’t want the federal government to tell them what to do, but when the federal pocket book starts being put away they scream of injustice. Frankly Noel is probably the biggest hypocrite of them all. He is the director of the Kane county water conservancy during the rest of the year, and paying himself the fattest salary of any water district manager in the state. Just so happens that a vast majority of the funds come from federal grants.

  • D

    They do have money because they understand economics and allow industry to thrive, unlike the countless other states that are broke due to their own failed policies. Is it really that hard to understand that state’s that are in good financial shape also happen to be the ones that tax the least and encourage responsible development. They also happen to be the states that have Conservative Governors. I am independent and on almost every single issue besides economics I can’t stand the Republican stance. However when it comes to economics on a state level it’s not even an argument worth having. The proof is in Black and Red.

  • Jay Jurkowitsch

    D – Oh right: the Proof is in the Black/Red…. Like I said, these States bitch about the Fed’s, but won’t give back the Federal Subsidies or turn them away.
    If these States have all this money, but are being careful with it…. how can they Waste it on law suits that Can’t be won?? This has been threatened and tried before… Federal Law TRUMPS State – as per the Bill of Rights (an abused term) and the 10th. Amendment – and many rulings by the Federal SUPREME court!!
    This is Nothing but a Wang waving display for the Moron voters!!

  • scott

    Damn the feds, stay out of our business. State sovereignty bitches…long live the 10th amendment. Or at least that was what all my liberal pot-head friends were saying last year when colorado was trying to legalize pot.

  • Tait

    “[T]he legislation is just one more skirmish on the never-ending western battle over ‘state’s rights,’ which is just another term for Utah putting itself ahead of the country.”

    Where is the emotion coming from in this statement? Steve, I don’t mean that question with the customary snarkiness endemic to the comments sections; I genuinely don’t see the motivation. It seems to me that this doesn’t prevent federal agents from upholding federal law, such as wildland protection and other federal law enforcement actions. It is a state’s prerogative to accept or deny federal assistance in its own governance. I can see how maybe you would be concerned with the way this direction could erode federal land protection, as indicated in your last paragraph, but you appear more outraged than concerned. Clarification, please? (P.S. I love Adventure Journal and appreciate the content you post!)

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Tait…Utah probably has been the most aggressive state at fighting federal rules, regulations, lands, you name it. Local control is fine, except that the state has proven itself to be a poor steward of wildlands, to favor commercial development over conservation, to allow or encourage motorized use over human powered, and to fight Uncle Sam consistently for the interests of a few vs. the interests of all of us, i.e. American taxpayers. This is one more action in a long string of them that’s less about the issue at hand and more about Utah scrapping with the feds on principle.

      • Jay Jurkowitsch

        Thanks Steve – well said…. but don’t forget about the Nevada Sagebrush Rebels..(aka- Expletives of various natures and degrees about their heritage)

      • Tait

        That connection would be reasonable if this instance was fighting federal rules, or even state enforcement of federal rules (like Idaho and wolves.) Am I misreading that this is about federal enforcement of state rules? If so, shouldn’t we save the attention for the more important issues, lest we be branded as ranters and ravers?

        • Tait

          Or in other words, would this be as provocative if the state was more conservation-minded than the federal government?

  • D

    They wouldn’t need the subsidies if the Feds gave them the ability to manage the land in their state. See how that works? State’s Rights all the way no matter what. Legalize pot or ban gun or do the opposite I don’t care just let each state decide. There is NO ONE less efficient and more wasteful then the Federal Government, it’s way too big to manage anything effectively. I deal with it every day, and it’s a joke. It’s not even a Republican or Democrat thing it’s a size of government issue.

  • Jay Jurkowitsch

    D – Oh RIGHT… so how then is That the UNITED STATES… sounds like 50 separate countries..
    From 1868 to 1903 the Mississippi State legislature actually voted 5 times to RE-Instate SLAVERY, so as to Assert Their States RIGHTS….
    For Good or Bad – WE the People decided in 1776 and 1791 to UNITE!! The attempt at Succession (1861-1865) was TOTAL failure…

  • Mr. Safari

    The highest form of government is at the local level. The federal government was never ever intended to have the power is has now. We can thank, in large part, that hack FDR for this. The constitution clearly lays for the the specific rolls and responsibilities of the red and the president. The embodiment that it has become is obscene. It is like seeing a 400 pounder at a buffet going to fill the plate for the third time. I hope Utah takes a que from Arozona, if the Feds won’t listen start arresting their agents and fill the jails.

    The one thing the fed is tasked with, according to the constitution, is securing our boarders….which they are woefully in breach of to the American people!!

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