Thursday, December 10, 2015

Utah to pursue lawsuit to seize control of federal lands

The federal government controls two-thirds of the land in Utah and the state says it's prepared fight to get it back. A Republican-dominated commission of Utah legislators voted Wednesday to move forward with a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's control of federal lands — the latest salvo in a long-running feud. The commission made the decision after a consulting team it hired said its research concluded the Constitution does not give the U.S. government power to control federal lands within state borders. The team of hired lawyers recommended the commission urge the governor and attorney general to take on the lawsuit, even while warning it could cost up to $14 million, take years to play out in the courts and saying it would be far from a sure victory. "It's a solid argument but the court has never thought about it before," said Ronald Rotunda, a constitutional law expert part of the team of lawyers. "That's what makes it a very dramatic case." The only votes against moving forward came from two Democrats, who objected to the costs and questioned the objectively of the consulting team. The decision marks the latest indication that Utah's conservative leadership remains committed to moving forward with what many consider a longshot attempt to assert state powers...more

No comments: