Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ammon Bundy had intended refuge occupation to end up in civil court, lawyers say

Ammon Bundy led the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge intending to force a civil court to take up the constitutionality of federal land management policy, his lawyers contend in new court papers filed Monday. He had expected the government to issue an eviction or ejection claim instead of arresting and indicting the occupiers on federal charges in criminal court. But as he now sits in a Multnomah County jail facing conspiracy and weapons allegations, he's asking the court to dismiss the indictments, arguing that the federal government lacks jurisdiction over the land that includes the wildlife sanctuary in eastern Oregon's Harney County. "The Malheur protest was aimed at raising this issue,'' his lawyers Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey wrote in the court documents. "Defendant Ammon Bundy organized his fellow citizens in protest of the expansive and unsupported interpretation of the Constitution that purports to allow the federal government to own and control more territory, and exercise jurisdiction over more land in the Western States, than the States themselves.''  His lawyers assert that Bundy isn't a member of any militia, isn't an extremist and doesn't hold anti-government views -- underlining each contention in bold type in their 33-page motion and memorandum filled with lengthy footnotes. They characterize Bundy as a constitutional originalist who adheres to similar philosophies as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. They contend Bundy didn't lead an armed takeover of the refuge, but organized an "act of civil disobedience'' to lay claim to the land. "It is from Ammon's understanding of federalism and his genuine belief in originalism, coupled with his own personal life experiences, that he, like a growing body of significant thinkers across the United States, has challenged the federal government's overreach, speaking out against its attendant injustices, and rallying attention to the core question of federal land ownership and related abuses,'' they wrote...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, unfortunately for Ammon, there's plenty of video contradicting any assertion that this was a civil action: "We're taking over Malheur Refuge. Bring your arms."

Maybe his lawyers should review the videos before putting this silliness out there.