U.S. Senator Ted Cruz took a break from his road trip through New Hampshire Sunday to talk with Breitbart Texas about the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Red River Land Grab and the unanswered questions surrounding the BLM’s claim on the land. On April 25, Sen. Cruz joined his former boss, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in writing BLM Director Neil Kornze for answers to questions previously submitted.
“This is an important story that Breitbart broke,” Sen. Cruz began, “and it is something that concerns me a great deal. In my view, the BLM already controls far too much land. We should be reducing the amount of federal land that the BLM controls and the amount of land that the federal government owns.”
Sen. Cruz revealed that, during the 2013 budget fight, he introduced an amendment to cap federal ownership of land. The goal was to begin significant reductions in the amount of land owned by the federal government.
As the former Solicitor General of Texas, Sen. Cruz might well have handled this case as he did several other cases involving federal overreach into state affairs. Responding to a question about what path this case might follow, Sen. Cruz said, “Where it stands right now, the intentions of the BLM are not entirely clear. Attorney General Greg Abbott, my former boss and soon to be the next Governor of Texas, has sent a detailed letter to the BLM asking them to clarify their intentions and to clarify the legal grounds for any assertions to control to these 90,000 acres in North Texas that they might have.”
Cruz related Abbott’s five questions included in his letter to BLM Director Kornze. Cruz’ letter on Friday reiterated those questions and urged a quick response. He then added an additional question “to make clear whether or not the BLM intends to assert control over 90,000 acres of land in Texas.”
Cruz went on to explain the Texas-Oklahoma Red River Boundary Compact from 2000 and the subsequent codification into law.
“There’s a straightforward legal interpretation that that Compact should resolve this issue and make clear that there is not a basis for BLM asserting control over this land,” Cruz explained. “What both Greg Abbott and I have asked the BLM is whether they recognize Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact as determinative of the federal government’s land interest.”
“If they do,” Cruz continued, “resolving this issue should be quite straight forward. If, on the alternative, they intend to take an aggressive legal position that would expand the federal interest in the state of Texas, then we need to know and we need to respond appropriately.”
“One of the frustrating things private land owners find all the time in dealing with the federal government,” Cruz explained, “is getting clarity as to what their position is. There are some in the federal government that seem willing to assert power against private interests and against the states in almost every circumstance. I think that is why people rightly perceive such an ongoing threat against individual liberty coming from the Obama Administration.”
Sen. Cruz and General Abbott have given the BLM an opportunity to clarify its position and to make clear whether it will recognize the Compact adopted by two states and ratified by Congress. “Or, if instead” Cruz concluded, “it is going to take an overly aggressive position and I think, if it does, it’s likely that the result is going to be litigation between the State of Texas and the federal government in order to protect state and private ownership of this land rather than to cede it to federal control.”
“It is an unfortunate pattern of the last five years,” Cruz stated, “is that over and over again Texas has been called upon to assert its authority against the federal government. As you know, I spent five and one-half years working for Greg Abbott as Solicitor General of Texas. We found ourselves, over and over again, litigating to defend the State of Texas, defend the constitutional authority of the state and defend the constitutional rights of our citizens. Under the Obama Administration, there has been a near constant assault on the State of Texas. And Greg Abbott has been leading the fight, litigating over and over and over again against the federal government to protect our constitutional authority.”
Cruz went on to discuss the Senate Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he serves as the ranking member.
“We had put out a series of reports outlining the abuse of power from the Obama Administration and one, in particular that focused on the abuse of power in litigation against the State of Texas, where the Obama Administration keeps embracing extreme positions and keeps losing in court,” Cruz added. “The State of Texas takes the federal government to court, holds them to account for abiding by the Constitution and the rule of law, and the Obama Administration keep losing because they’re embracing extreme positions that are contrary to law.”
The interview shifted to discuss the very unusual situation in the highly partisan climate of Washington, D.C. where Sen. Cruz was able to obtain near unanimous support in both the Democrat controlled Senate and the Republican led House of Representatives regarding his Anti-Terrorist Ambassador Act which President Obama signed into law. Cruz, in the audio presentation discussed how this came about and the very unusual feeling of having to deal with compliments from very liberal Democrat Senators.
Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX