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Judge tosses Cliven Bundy’s claim that state owns all public lands

A judge on Tuesday dismissed Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s lawsuit that sought to declare all public lands a part of the state.

District Judge Jim Crockett’s decision was handed down in response to court papers filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, which had intervened in the case. The judge’s decision followed previous court decisions against Bundy, who has claimed the federal government should not own land.

“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,” Crockett wrote in an eight-page decision.

The judge added: “It is simply delusional to maintain that all public land within the boundaries of Nevada belongs to the state of Nevada.”

After he was cleared of federal criminal charges last year and freed from jail after nearly two years, Bundy claimed in a suit against Nevada and Clark County that former President Barack Obama’s late 2016 establishment of Gold Butte National Monument, was illegal and would preclude him from continuing to function on his land and destroy his livelihood.

The conservation group’s executive director, Kieran Suckling, praised the judge’s decision.

“Hopefully it puts to bed forever Cliven Bundy’s kooky conspiracy theories about a federal government not being able to own public land,” Suckling said. “This is the one and only court system that Cliven claims is valid and he will respect. This should put his extremist belief to the test.”

In January 2018, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed charges against Bundy, two of his sons and another man in connection with a Bunkerville armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management.

The April 2014 standoff occurred after federal agents tried to execute a court order to round up Bundy’s cattle after a decades-long dispute over grazing fees.

Bundy, whose family set down roots in the Nevada desert more than 140 years ago, has long claimed that the land on which he grazes his cattle should not be claimed by the federal government. In his lawsuit, Bundy stated that he “lawfully acquired grazing, water and other rights to the lands in question.”

Lawyers for Bundy could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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