A Nevada state court judge dismissed rancher Cliven Bundy’s lawsuit claiming more than 58 million acres of federal lands should be turned over to state control, calling Bundy’s case “simply delusional” and “fundamentally flawed.”
Bundy has long claimed that federal lands within Nevada do belong not to the United States and has sought to have those lands, including national parks and monuments, transferred to the state of Nevada. This week’s ruling marked the third time a judge has tossed Bundy’s novel interpretation out of court over the past two decades.
“It is simply delusional to maintain that all public land within the boundaries of Nevada belongs to the State of Nevada,” reads the ruling.
In the ruling, Judge Jim Crockett of the 8th Judicial District Court in Las Vegas ruled in favor of the Center for Biological Diversity, which intervened on the case and filed a motion to dismiss Nevada Bundy’s lawsuit in January.
“The courts are just getting sick and tired of his antics,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope this ruling is the final nail in the coffin of his extreme beliefs.”
One major difference between this case and previous ones is that it is from a state court rather than a federal court. Given Bundy’s vocal refusal to recognize any ruling from a federal court, Suckling believes the ruling will “put Cliven to the test here and see if he really believes the state is the ultimate authority.”
“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 in Nevada,” reads the ruling.
In 2013 federal courts ruled that Bundy or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would have to round up hundreds of his cattle illegally grazing on thousands of acres near the Nevada-Arizona border.
Bundy reportedly owes more than a $1 million in grazing fees and penalties to the BLM for allowing his cattle to feed on the now protected Gold Butte National Monument.
While Suckling believes the language of the ruling reveals that Bundy is “pushing a limit on what the court will tolerate,” Bundy’s push to nullify federal land ownership isn’t over.
“Unfortunately, I think there are no legal opinions that will ever deter Cliven from trying to seize public lands from America. He is not operating from a world of rationality,” Suckling said.