Well, we just got done listening to the entire case for Brandon Rinehart at the CA Supreme Court.
Mr. Melnick, the State’s attorney initially sounded nervous and unprepared. He argued Brandon could still mine using other methods, but argued that suction dredging is harmful, even though no evidence was presented. The Justices questioned him on his theory and seemed (our opinion) to be genuinely questioning how the State can preempt Federal law.
James Buchal, Brandon’s attorney was exceptionally well prepared and obviously knowledgeable on the subject. Towards the latter part of his argument, which centered on how the State was concocting laws to circumvent the intent of Congress and Federal law, he sounded a little excited and was even scolded by the Chief Justice for not allowing one of the other Justices to complete his question. That aside, James’s argument was solid based on his fact based testimony. He cited numerous cases in which Appeals Courts have conclusively decided that the states cannot frustrate Federal Laws. This is precisely what California is doing, we know it, you know it. He gave great analogies which seemed to reach the Justices.
This has never been about fish. This has always been about a particular political environment not liking a method of mining and subsequently doing anything and everything to shut it down. They simply cannot fathom that digging or dredging gold out of the ground can be beneficial to fish habitat……..but it is as proven by dozens of studies. This is ideology on full display. They know they have an unlimited amount of funds to fight in court (tax payer money) where as the miners have to do grass-roots fundraising to prove they have rights. It is an endless scheme. You must not remain silent any longer, speak out. Post comments when you see false allegations against miners, hikers, hunters and fishermen. Do not be silent.
While we remain optimistic about the outcome, we caution everyone as we have all seen activism in the court systems and who knows what the Justices are truly thinking. Take Ochoa for example, he issued an order, but then wouldn’t back it up with an injunction. Take the Oregon judge who just a few short weeks ago stated miners could still mine……with a tiny shovel and a pan.
We know the USFS, BLM, DFG, EPA and even the CA Water Board reads every single post we make in here, so lets make something abundantly clear. You work for us. Some of you seem to have forgotten that and equally clear is many of you believe you are Congress and can create winners, losers and laws based on your political ideology. The law says the opposite and it is long past time you are exposed and held accountable.
We will never give up fighting for the rights of the public land use community and small miners………..never.
Thank you Brandon for taking this to this level, you are truly a brave man and should be commended for it.