Publicado: Mier, Abril 04, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Department of Justice sues California over land transfer law

Department of Justice sues California over land transfer law

Panuccio called the state law "another example of California avoiding federal law, and no state legislature can, statute by statute, undermine the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution".

"California is right to be anxious that the Trump administration may try to dispose of public land".

It is the third time in almost as many weeks that either the Justice Department or California have announced lawsuits against one another. The law also has thwarted a Veteran Affairs plan to rebuild its West Los Angeles campus and rent land for housing, the lawsuit contends.

Trump administration officials have said they're opposed to selling federal land to other interests, but senior Justice officials said the state initiative goes beyond selling land within public parks.

California State Sen. Ben Allen (D), who authored the legislation, said in an interview that the law was "very carefully crafted" and meant mainly to ensure that the state would have an opportunity to intervene in major instances in which the federal government wanted to sell off land worthy of conservation.

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Last month, Sessions, during his visit to Sacramento, California's capital, announced that he was suing the state over laws that hinder cooperation with federal immigration authorities. According to the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, more than 45 percent of the area of California is owned by the federal government. "Jerry" Brown Jr., and the California State Lands Commission, seeking a declaration that California Senate Bill 50 ("SB 50"), enacted in October 2017, is unconstitutional and seeking an injunction against implementation of this state law. "California was admitted to the Union upon the express condition that it would never interfere with the disposal of federal law".

The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution provides: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof., shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby; any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding". The federal attorneys argued it could disrupt how the federal government contracts with private actors to build facilities for the military, for example. Rather than directly assert any power over the federal government, it denies title recording to the private buyer who owns land - after the sale - as a private California citizen.

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to revitalize its 388-acre West Los Angeles Campus by leasing real property to other entities for the goal of providing permanent supportive housing and related services for local veterans.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra defended the state's restrictions on federal land sales. 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.

The law was part of a series of bills California lawmakers passed past year in a bid to preserve federal environmental regulations under state law and protect federal lands from being sold to oil companies. A person who does record a deed in violation of the law could be fined up to $5,000. And finally, because the requirement is merely a "right of first refusal", it should not directly affect the price at which the federal government can sell land.

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