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Fight between Texas landowner and Washington perfectly illustrates the federal government's overreach

Published in Blog on June 26, 2019 by Article V Patriot

The Bone-Cave Harvestman spider exists only in Texas. It isn't bought or sold across state lines, and it has no commercial value. And yet, the federal government believes it has the right to control the land on which the spider lives based on the Commerce Clause and the Endangered Species Act. 

Does that seem fair or constitutional?

That question is at the heart of a lawsuit being brought by Texas landowner John Yearwood and the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Yearwood's family has owned his land for over 100 years, and enjoys allowing local church youth groups and the high school 4-H club to use the property for camping. These community outreach projects are in jeopardy, however, because the best part of the land for camping is also home to the Bone Cave Harvestman, which the federal government claims is endangered.

“This lawsuit centers around respect for the rule of law and recognition that the Constitution establishes our federal government as having limited, enumerated powers,” said Robert Henneke, director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Congress has the power to regulate commerce among the states, i.e. Interstate commerce. Congress’ Commerce power through the Endangered Species Act should not, therefore, extend to regulate the Bone-Cave Harvestman species – an intrastate cave-arachnid existing only in caves in Central Texas without any commercial value. For there to be rule of law, there must be limits to government power.”

"This land has been in my family for over one-hundred years,” said Yearwood. “It is land that my children and grandchildren will enjoy. I would like to share my property with the local 4-H club, so that children can enjoy the outdoors, camping, and marksmanship. This should not violate any federal rules nor subject me to the risk of criminal penalties. Camping isn’t commerce.”

The lawsuit recently cleared one hurdle, but it's ultimate success is anything but certain. The Supreme Court has for decades used the Commerce Clause incorrectly to grant Congress the power to control nearly every aspect of American life. The hope that the courts will suddenly reverse the last 100 years of precedent is slim at best.

That's why the people and the states need to rise up and call the first-ever Article V Convention of States. A Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that clarify the narrow, limited powers granted to Congress in the Constitution.

The U.S. Congress should not have the power to dictate how a landowner utilizes his property in Texas. The Founders never imagined that the national government would garner this kind of power, and if they were here, they'd ask us, "Why haven't you called an Article V Convention yet?"

If you want to get involved in the fight to end this kind of federal overreach, sign the Petition below!

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