Alexis De Tocqueville studied democracy in the early U.S. more closely than anyone except the slave-owners and morally compromised abolitionists who created it. There’s a pithy quote available from him on almost any aspect of our system, for any occasion. He’s the Hallmark cards of political science.
Among many trenchant insights, De Tocqueville observed that Americans turn politics into lawsuits. As he put it, “Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.”
As proof of that, look to Brown v. Board of Education on segregation, Roe v. Wade on abortion, and Bush v. Gore on whether the current season of “Veep” prematurely rips the scab off too many terrible memories.
It’s time to amend De Tocqueville, long past time to honor his work by giving his observation currency. Now, it should be, “Scarcely any conspiracy theory bubbles up from the right-wing fever swamp that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a lawsuit against Barack Obama.”
Today’s case in point: Bundy v. Navarro, Reid, Reid, and Obama.
Ah...“Bundy” Bundy has become a name to conjure with in the last 50 years. There’s McGeorge Bundy, an architect of the U.S. war on Viet Nam, whose safe-words were “McMuffin” and “MacGyver.” There’s Ted Bundy, an allegedly personable and handsome young man executed in 1989 for homicidal misogyny. And there’s Al Bundy, who’s managing the current presidential campaign of Saruman the Orange.
The plaintiff in Bundy v. Navarro, et al, is the latest famous Bundy: Cliven Bundy, America’s Deadbeat Rancher, trademark registration pending.
The defendants are Senator Harry Reid, his son Rory Reid, a federal judge named Gloria Navarro, and the aforementioned Kenyan Socialist Muslim.
Cliven Bundy first came to the general public’s attention in 2014, when Bundy and other Second Amendment Twerkers had an armed standoff at his ranch in Nevada with agents of the federal Bureau of Land Management. The confrontation occurred because Bundy refused to pay more than 1.1M$ in BLM fees for grazing his herd on federal land. BTW, Bundy’s been stiffing the taxpayers for grazing fees for more than 20 years.
Most recently, Cliven has been in solitary confinement in a federal corrections facility in Nevada. He’s awaiting trial on federal criminal charges for his grazing fee donnybrook.
Even though Bundy lives in Nevada, he got arrested in Oregon. He thought he could travel there safely to support his sons and others arrested for the grazing fee dust-up and also for seizing a wildlife refuge in Oregon so they could dig a trench in the refuge and fill it with what the media delicately identify as “human feces.” For freedom.
The federal government shipped Bundy back to Nevada to stand trial. Instead of putting his time in solitary to good use by crocheting a reproduction of the Articles of Confederation, Bundy filed suit.
Keep in mind that Cliven Bundy does not recognize the authority of the federal government. That’s why he won’t pay grazing fees. That’s why he refused to enter a plea at his arraignment in Nevada on the federal criminal charges.
That said, he is suing federal officials pursuant to federal law, in federal court, a branch of the federal government, to vindicate his federal civil rights, for which he wants to recover 50 million federally issued U.S. dollars, because he can think of six impossible federal things before breakfast.
The theory of Bundy’s lawsuit
First, Reid and his son Rory want to steal Bundy’s land so they can sell it to Chinese Communists who want to build a solar power facility on the site.
From paragraph 12 of the Complaint: “Not coincidentally it has been widely reported and disclosed that Defendant HARRY REID at all material times owned 93 acres adjacent to the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville. He thus coveted his neighbor’s property and chattels.”
“Not coincidentally…” Exactly. There are no coincidences in Bundy World, where the 10th Commandment gets cited as a legal basis for a civil rights claim.
In the rest of the world, however, coincidences abound, and the Reids are innocent of the sinful behavior Mr. Bundy ascribes to them.
Back in 2014, two years before this lawsuit infected the federal docketing system, Politifact rated Bundy’s theory about the Reid’s conduct a “Pants-on-Fire” lie. Also in 2014, the Las Vegas Sun - which is the Las Vegas newspaper that Sheldon Adelson didn’t buy and turn into a chew toy - reported that the secret foreign owners of City Wok actually coveted land that was 165 miles from Bundy’s ranch. Snopes also rated this theory false and noted that the Commies terminated their agreement to buy land in 2013 - before the grazing fee confrontation at Rancho Loco.
But this theory of the Reids’ conduct - like the theory of the supremacy of the 2nd Amendment over the actual Supremacy Clause in the Constitution - continues to feast on Bundy brains.
Another defendant in Bundy’s lawsuit is Gloria Navarro. She’s a federal judge in Nevada.
Judge Navarro’s presiding over Bundy’s criminal trial. She won’t let a lawyer named Larry Klayman defend Bundy until Klayman clears up questions about disciplinary proceedings against him in other states.
According to Bundy’s lawsuit, however, Navarro is really bench-blocking Klayman because she’s a Latino activist who hates Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was represented by Klayman in lawsuits about Arizona’s “stop and prove your citizenship” law.
Bundy also alleges that Judge Navarro’s taking her cues from Harry Reid and Obama so their buddy Hillary will appoint Navarro to a higher court if the Wicked Witch of the Western Suburbs wins the election.
Finally, Bundy alleges that Obama is orchestrating this massive conspiracy because Bundy offended him: after the BLM standoff, Bundy compared his mistreatment by federal storm troopers - Bundy’s words, from paragraph 9 of the complaint - to slavery in the U.S.
“Plaintiff BUNDY publicly equated his and his family’s situation to the plight of ‘Negroes’ in the old South, whereby they were enslaved by a tyrannical government, as he and his family believed they were, given the threats and violent attacks on his family members, his cattle and the Bundy’s supporters.”
In paragraph 21, Bundy says he meant no offense. He says he:
“chose the word ‘Negro’ believing that this was a proper term for African-Americans, having looked up the word in Webster’s dictionary. He meant no disrespect and insult to African-Americans, particularly since he was equating his and his family’s plight with them. Indeed, the Reverend Martin Luther King referred to his people as “Negroes” and he is recognized as the greatest African-American civil rights leader in American history.”
Bundy says this racial analogy angered President Obama so much that he dog-whistled for the storm troopers at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2014. Referring to Bundy, Obama said,
“As a general rule, things don’t end well if the sentence starts, “Let me tell you something I know about the negro.” You don’t really need to hear the rest of it. Just a tip for you – don’t start your sentence that way.”
Hilarity ensued at the Nerd Prom. This snappy Borscht Beltway patter also spurred Bundy to name-check another civil-rights icon in his complaint:
“In court papers earlier this week, his defense lawyer, Joel Hansen, called Bundy a political prisoner — like the late South African president and civil rights activist Nelson Mandela...”
A former president of the Harvard Law Review - no, not the one in the Oval Office - is sitting in a cubicle in the Department of Justice wondering what karmic failure landed this case on his or her docket. His or her job will be to write a motion to dismiss it.
Because the complaint is a complex web of allegations, writing a motion to dismiss it will be as easy as drunk drywalling.
However, after a flurry of motion practice, the complaint will probably be dismissed. After all, Bundy v. Navarro is just another right-wing fundie conspiracy theory, baseless in fact and law. A Bundy Fundie conspiracy, as it were. Nothing to see here. Don’t give it another thought.
However... if Bundy’s complaint is dismissed, he will have a right to appeal.
And, in 2017 or 2018, after the voters decide if Orange is the New Black, the appeal from that dismissal might reach the Supreme Court, via a petition for certiorari.
If he’s elected President, the Creamsicle-in-Chief will nominate a jurist with a world view like his to fill Scalia’s seat. If he wins, he’ll have a Republican majority Senate, which will confirm that nomination in a Mitch McConnell Minute.
And the Supreme Court will reverse the dismissal of Bundy v. Navarro by a 5-4 vote and send it back to the Nevada district court for trial on the merits. And Barry and Harry and Rory and Gloria will spend the next decade of their lives rolling that boulder of a lawsuit up the hill time and time again.
Mark Twain - not coincidentally, another keen observer of human affairs - opined that humor is tragedy plus time.
Here’s an axiom for that equation: tragedy plus time can be tragedy. See, for example, everything that happened in the eight years immediately following Bush v. Gore.
In this great country, yes, political questions can become judicial questions. And judicial questions can become governments.
Sweet dreams, dear Count, sweet dreams, and thanks for all your work.
Editor's Note: Of course, what Bundy has not yet realized is that Harry Reid has absolutely nothing to do with the LLC he claims belongs to Reid and his son.