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Scalia’s Passing Halts Utah Land Lawsuit

Scalia’s Passing Halts Utah Land Lawsuit
March 15
10:41 2016

State Representative Mike Noel of Kanab says with the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, there is little hope Utah would prevail defending a lawsuit over its takeover of federal lands.

Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia

Comments Noel, “The timing before his death was (looking) pretty good for a (positive) decision. A four-four tie doesn’t get us anywhere.”

This year’s legislature had socked away $4.5 million for the anticipated suit.

Meanwhile, Steve Bloch of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance applauds Noel’s decision to at least hold off on the takeover.

“Representative Noel’s change of heart confirms what we all know: that the legal claims behind the state’s land grab effort have little to do with the law and everything to do with politics,” said Bloch. “Those lands are right where they belong–in the hands of all Americans.”

Governor Gary Herbert supports the land acquisition proposal. But, he says, it has no hope unless a Republican is in the White House.

His meaning is that if a Democratic President names the next Supreme Court Justice, he would be sure to be against having the lands revert back to the state. Therefore, the vote on the Supreme Court may go the way of conservatives.

Going back in history, in the 1894 Utah Enabling Act, the federal government agreed to give the lands back to the then-territory. It was signed by President Grover Cleveland.

Utah became a state in 1896.

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