Author: Bill Howell & Bill Redd | pp: 524 | Cover: Softcover
It is said that the United States hold the public lands, which reside predominantly within twelve western states, "in trust." In 1976 the United States Supreme Court stated that the power of Congress over these lands is both "complete" and "without limitation." In that same year, Congress stated its intent to hold these lands in permanent federal ownership. The people are expected to accept and, in the main do accept, that "complete" and "unlimited" federal power and permanent federal ownership are legitimate characteristics of this public land "trust." The public lands make up some one third of the nation's land mass. Thus, whatever its characteristics may be, this "trust" is one of tremendous import and great significance.
Since trusts are usually matters of law written in detail between trustors and trustees, it is reasonable to expect that the terms of this massive "trust" must be thoroughly documented. We then ask: Where is this "trust" written? What is its object or purpose? What, if any, are the limitations placed upon the trustee for its exercise? Upon a more sophisticated level, how does this "trust," as it is now exercised, comport with the Equal Footing Doctrine, the principle of constitutional uniformity, and the federalism provisions of the respective state enabling act compacts which are set down in law as "unalterable but by common consent" of the parties thereto?
A "trust," which permits what is otherwise a constitutionally delimitated government to function as a supreme, "complete," and "unlimited" national municipal legislature over vast expanses within the confines of ostensibly sovereign and independent States without their consent, cannot possibly exist in the American system without documentary evidence of its consented establishment, a substantial constitutional history, and a clear and well understood object.
Statehood - The Territorial Imperative is a meticulous and long-overdue inquiry into the origins and documented objects of the federal "trust" respecting public lands. With its conclusions based squarely upon the historical record, this book challenges conventional thinking and popular belief with respect to this "trust." A compelling case is presented for redrawing the proprietary and jurisdictional map of the West so that it comports with the express terms of the Constitution and with the sovereign and reserved rights of the respective states. In sum, this book intends that this union of states, each equal one with the other as to political rights and sovereignty, be affirmed as intended by the Framers and as ratified by the states.