About 50 percent of California is public land.
Federal law says the Bureau of Land Management can select public land for sale if it meets certain criteria. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is putting this harebrained policy proposal to rest. "This time, by interfering with the conveyance of federal lands", he said.
It is not the first time that the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the country's most populous state.
Sessions issued a second statement late Monday afternoon saying that he regrets "the need to file another lawsuit against the state of California" but he was forced to because California believes it's "above the law" and is passing unconstitutional laws that interfere with the federal government's ability to do its job and filing lawsuits that won't stand up in court but delay administration's policies.
The statement, though, was notable for the forcefulness of its language suggesting that the Trump administration would take on California's authority to set its own rules.
Monday's legal salvos were the latest in a series of showdowns over numerous USA initiatives, particularly on immigration and the environment, that clash with California's more liberal policies. The law was meant to preempt the Trump administration from possibly selling land state leaders felt worthy of conservation, such as national parks or monuments, though some officials warned from the start it might face legal challenges.
Sessions has also recently reversed Obama-era guidance when it comes to prosecuting federal laws making the use or sales of marijuana a crime even though state legislatures in California, Oregon, and Washington have legalized it. The Supreme Clause puts federal law ahead of state law when there is a conflict and the Property Clause gives Congress the power to sell or transfer federal land.
He warned that, "Whether California legislators and the governor like it or not, they must comply with the terms of their admission to the union and their oaths of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution".
The legal action is yet another clash between President Trump and California's liberal movement determined to demonstrate its resistance to his presidency and policies. Not having a deed of transfer recorded creates serious problems for a land owner.
California passed its own legislation after then-Rep. The federal government owns about 46 million acres in California. "Our public lands should not be on the auction block to the highest bidder", he said. We blaze trails, we innovate, and we engage in smart stewardship of our precious public lands. "What we're doing is we're working with the states to open up recreation opportunities. And that's not right". "We hope the Trump administration turns away from misguided and unpopular land giveaways".
Xavier Becerra, California's attorney general, vowed to fight the lawsuit. Jerry Brown, and the California State Lands Commission as defendants. Without a recorded deed many banks will not lend money to buy or develop the property and a purchaser can not get title insurance, making a recorded deed much more valuable than an unrecorded deed.