The Battle Between State versus Federal Sovereignty: Shelby Park Edition

In the ongoing saga of state versus federal sovereignty, we find ourselves in the heart of Texas, where the City of Eagle Pass is standing up to the federal government’s overreach. Enter Shelby Park, a city-owned park along the Rio Grande River that has become a hotbed for undocumented immigrants seeking to enter the United States.

The City of Eagle Pass and the State of Texas have taken a stance, asserting their ownership and management rights to Shelby Park. They argue that the park should not be used as a staging area for undocumented immigrants and that federal officials processing these individuals should not have access to the park.

However, the federal government has taken Texas directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the state’s claim of a “sovereign ownership right” to manage the use of Shelby Park. The issue at hand is the gray area between state and federal sovereignty, which has made the case confusing for everyone involved.

Sovereignty issues, particularly those concerning the boundaries of state and federal powers, are legally complex and fascinating. The Constitution does not provide crystal clear guidance on issues of boundary protection, jurisdiction, and responsibility, leaving room for interpretation and legal battles.

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But let’s take a step back from the specifics of this case and consider the larger issue at play: the abuse of executive power. The executive branch, through the use of executive orders, has been able to go beyond the powers granted to Congress. This raises the question: how can the executive branch do things by executive order that Congress hasn’t done through federal law?

This issue is not limited to the situation in Eagle Pass. Here in Alaska, we have our own disagreement with the executive branch over wildlife management. The federal government, through the Department of the Interior, has taken over the management of subsistence use and allocation of wildlife on federal lands in Alaska, going beyond what Congress has authorized.

The executive branch’s actions in both Eagle Pass and Alaska demonstrate an overreach of power. In Eagle Pass, the federal government claims the authority to dictate how a city park is managed, while in Alaska, they dictate what the state must not do when it comes to managing its wildlife resources.

It is worth noting that the federal government has used vague language from the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) to justify its actions in Alaska. However, ANILCA does not explicitly grant the federal government the power to take over management. It is merely an administrative threat, outside the realm of Congress’s enumerated powers.

The similarities between the situations in Eagle Pass and Alaska are striking. In both cases, the executive branch is overstepping its bounds and making decisions that go beyond what Congress has authorized.

This issue goes beyond the specific circumstances of Shelby Park or Alaska’s wildlife management. It is about the balance of power between the branches of government and the need to define and restrict executive power.

As this case unfolds in Texas, it is crucial that we pay attention to the precedent that is being set. An unsupervised executive branch, with little oversight from Congress, gaining more power through precedent is a dangerous path to tread. This issue calls for a clear definition and restriction of executive power on a larger stage, and that stage is here in Alaska.


In conclusion, the battle between state and federal sovereignty is playing out in various arenas across the country. The case of Shelby Park in Texas is just one example of the executive branch overstepping its authority. It is essential that we recognize and address these overreaches to protect the balance of power and uphold the principles of our Constitution.

Key Takeaway: The battle between state and federal sovereignty in the case of Shelby Park highlights the need to define and restrict executive power. The executive branch’s abuse of authority through executive orders raises concerns about the balance of power between branches of government. It is crucial that we pay attention to these overreaches and take steps to safeguard our constitutional principles.


Q: What is the significance of the Supreme Court’s involvement in the Shelby Park case?
A: The involvement of the Supreme Court in the Shelby Park case is significant because it will provide clarity on the issue of state and federal sovereignty. The Court’s ruling will establish legal precedent and potentially impact similar cases in the future.

Q: How does this issue affect the reader?
A: This issue affects the reader by raising questions about the balance of power between the branches of government and the extent of executive authority. It is important for citizens to be aware of and engaged in discussions surrounding these issues to ensure the preservation of our constitutional principles.

Q: What can the reader do to address these concerns?
A: Readers can stay informed about ongoing developments in the Shelby Park case and similar cases that involve state and federal sovereignty. They can also engage with their elected representatives and advocate for a clear definition and restriction of executive power to protect the integrity of our constitutional framework.

The battle between state and federal sovereignty is a fundamental issue that requires our attention and vigilance. The case of Shelby Park in Texas serves as a reminder of the need to define and restrict executive power. Let us remain engaged and proactive in protecting the principles that form the foundation of our democracy.

"For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us." - Isaiah 33:22

Stay tuned for updates on this ongoing story and others like it.

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