Michigan Waters; A Constitutional Catastrophe

By Lake Property Law PLC | March 7, 2022

The U.S. Constitution and the federal statutes enacted pursuant to its wording directed how lands and water bodies of 30 states west of the original colonies were to be created. Those same statutes directed that once surveyed as land or once determined to be a water body by the federal government, it would be land or a water body forever. This was true even if surveyed land was covered with water at the time. If the land was surveyed as land, it would always be land that could be sold and held in title by private individuals. If the acreage of a body of water was excluded from the survey because the land underneath was surveyed (meandered) and subtracted from the federal lands subject to sale, then it would always remain an unsurveyed (meandered) water body. Total jurisdiction over this unsurveyed water body was reserved to the states, but only if it was meandered.

How, then, did Michigan go so far off the U.S. Constitutional rails? Why have the guaranteed private property rights of so many thousands of those people who purchased land from the federal government been taken from them? Why does the State of Michigan routinely disregard federal statutes which direct that the content of the land, whether it has water on it or not and whether surveyed or left unsurveyed, can never change? It can never change from land to water. Why has the State of Michigan enacted its own survey statutes which have unconstitutionally attempted to annihilate the federal survey and the titles of property sold to private persons? Why are our courts so willing to declare lands to be waters in violation of the federal laws when they have no jurisdiction to do so?

The State of Michigan, whether legislatively or through pronouncements of its courts, is powerless to enact this legislation which interferes with the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, and such legislation and court decisions are void. We need only look at federal statutes and rulings to know this is true. However, it will take years to correct these wrongs, and to bring Michigan’s laws and jurisprudence into line with federal statutes declared “supreme” by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. It is even more important that attorneys, surveyors and others with concern and care for real property law principles be the leaders in building a new paradigm that addresses and corrects these grave concerns.