Wild horse advocates have had to take issues of First Amendment Rights into federal court. For the last three and a half years Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education has been up and down the court system fighting to simply observe and report on government handling of wild horses. The case was signed on through Amicus by fifteen nationally recognized news organizations. The case has won a favorable published opinion in the Ninth Circuit Court. Leigh is a credentialed journalist that has broken no law nor made a single threat of violence against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Cliven Bundy is a trespass rancher that has been breaking federal laws for over two decades. Bundy has lost two federal lawsuits and is now having his trespass cattle removed off of your public land. Bundy owes the federal government about $1.1 million dollars. After BLM began closing federal land to remove his livestock Bundy and his supporters threatened violence to the point of saying “I am ready to die” if BLM removes this livestock.
BLM set up “Free Speech” areas for Bundy supporters to stage their protests. Under armed watch, much like are present at BLM wild horse roundups, Bundy supporters are held. (Some of these supporters are “militia” members posting threats on social media as well as attending the protests).
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has just released a statement chastising BLM for infringing on the First Amendment rights of Cliven Bundy supporters.
Article from the Las Vegas Review:
By LAURA MYERS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday accused the Bureau of Land Management of violating Nevadans’ constitutional rights to protest a BLM roundup of cattle on federal land and slammed the agency for creating an “atmosphere of intimidation.”
Sandoval called on the BLM to dismantle a so-called “First Amendment Area” the agency designated to allow demonstrators to protest the gathering of rancher Cliven Bundy’s 500 head of cattle. The federal government is rounding up the cattle around Bunkerville because Bundy has refused for 20 years to pay grazing fees.
“Due to the roundup by the BLM, my office has received numerous complaints of BLM conduct, road closures and other disturbances,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I have recently met with state legislators, county officials and concerned citizens to listen to their concerns.”
“I have expressed those concerns directly to the BLM,” he added. “Most disturbing to me is the BLM’s establishment of a ‘First Amendment Area’ that tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution.”
A former federal judge, Sandoval said he told the agency “that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the ‘First Amendment Area’ should be dismantled immediately.”
“I would hardly expect Sandoval to make any such statement if wild horse advocates were threatening violence against the BLM,” said Wild Horse Education President Laura Leigh, “BLM restricts every move by law abiding wild horse advocates in the interest of ‘public safety.’ I have been legally addressing this issue in the courts for almost four years. I realize this is an election year but I expected more comprehension of the volatile nature of the situation from our Governor. This is not a handful of people simply observing. The people supporting Bundy, and Bundy himself, have encouraged threats of violence. More and more we are really seeing just how much control a livestock producer has over Nevada politics.”
Categories: Wild Horse Education