Federalism and Public Lands

JW Howard Attorneys has been at the forefront of the revival of notions of federalism inherent in the Constitutional structure; concepts that have been set aside in the rush of federal expansion and the closer unification of the nation through communication an transportation. But State sovereignty and the equal dignity of the States and their Constitutional prerogatives are an essential element of the protection of individual liberty.

JW Howard attorneys are nationally recognized specialists in State/federal relations, federalism and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.  Ours is the only firm to have handled cases challenging federal ownership of lands within the States on the well-established Constitutional Equal Footing Doctrine, affirmed as recently as 2013.

On behalf of the Legislature of the State of Utah and in partnership with George Wentz, the Davillier Law Group with which he is affiliated and Ronald Rotunda, the greatest Constitutional scholar in the history of the nation, JW Howard/Attorneys conducted an exhaustive study of the history of public lands in North America from 1579, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the continent for the Crown of England, through 1976, when Congress fundamentally altered State/federal relations by the adoption of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

John Howard is a “legend” in the public lands world.

Utah State Rep. Phil Lyman

The team also performed a comprehensive study of the Constitutional law bearing on public lands from 1796 to the present.  The team developed a detailed report to the Legislature, which it adopted and serves as the most comprehensive survey of this issue ever performed.
See full Legal Analysis here.

At the same time, this team served as Constitutional advisors to the Utah State Legislature and as special counsel to the Attorney General of the State of Utah with respect to federalism issues and the protection of State prerogative under the Constitution.

The report offered a roadmap for State control of public lands, an undertaking of massive importance to the western States where the federal government asserts control over seventy-five percent of the land within State borders.

In addition, JW Howard Attorneys has served as counsel to a number of counties in the western States and has an expertise in Federal Reserved Statutes 2477, which provides for a general grant of right-of-way across federally controlled land.  We conducted a study of facts and law related to an RS2477 public road in San Juan County; prepared an action on behalf of the County, developed and marshalled all of the evidence necessary to try the case and presented it to Utah State officials charged with conducting litigation to establish the State’s rights in those statutorily protected rights-of-way.

John on horseback
John Wayne Howard

JW Howard. Federalism is the bedrock of American freedom.



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