PunditFact checks claim that feds can't own land

St. Petersburg, Florida - Fox News has taken on the Cliven Bundy controversy.

It has suggested in the dispute with the Federal Land Management that Bundy is right and should not have to pay taxes and grazing fees on the public land. Now, a former judge is giving his opinion.

10 News anchor Allison Kropff teams up with PunditFact to check the claim that the Constitution gives Washington no right to own a large portion of Nevada.

Former judge Andrew Napolitano was on Fox's Hannity when he made a statement he said the government will consider "outrageous." He was arguing that the land is being held unconstitutionally and all of it should be returned to the private property owners. Here's what he said:

"The Constitution simply does not authorize the federal government to own any of this land."

Fact-checkers with PunditFact talked with experts from the conservative Heritage Foundation, who said there is no basis for the idea the federal government can't own land out in the western states.

"What Napolitano is citing is 1845 Supreme Court decision that essentially backs him up, and says the federal government can't own waters and lands once a state incorporates, the government has to give up the rights to this land," says Aaron Sharockman with PunditFact.

But the Constitution gives the government the right to own land.

"Article 4, Section 3 Clause 2. It's called the property cause and it essentially allows the federal government to own land and have great sway over lands, the Supreme Court has institutionalized that right over time and several cases.," says Sharockman.

Because there's no evidence to support Napolitano's argument, PunditFact rates his claim, PANTS ON FIRE.

PunditFact reached out to Napolitano to get his "legal explanation," but did not hear back.


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