“ONE IN 3 ACRES IN THE UNITED STATES IS OWNED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND I DEFY YOU TO FIND ANYTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT JUSTIFIES THAT.”
This is a common claim—that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to manage land beyond the District of Columbia or military bases. However, a subcommittee (7 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 1 Independent) of the Conference of Western Attorneys General completed a two-year analysis of this argument and determined that it was unfounded. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has a right to own public land, going all the way back to 1840, United States v. Gratiot. Lastly, Bishop overstates the extent of federal land holdings nationwide, which is closer to 28 percent.
REP. ROB BISHOP (R-UTAH) IN A STUMP SPEECH, OCTOBER 2011