DTAG 1 TT DTAG 2 TT RTAG 1 TT IMG 1 TT HETAG 3 TT HETAG 4 TT Ammon Bundy is an ‘originalist’ just like Antonin Scalia, says defense

2 months, 5 days ago

Motion to dismiss charges against Oregon standoff leader call him a peaceful protester sharing constitutional opinions with the late supreme court justice

Oregon stalemate leader Ammon Bundy was a peaceful protester advocating the constitutional beliefs of US supreme court justices Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, in agreement with the jailed activists formal defense filed on Monday.

Bundys motion to dismiss the federal charges that he led a violent conspiracy against the governmental forces with an armed occupation of a wildlife refuge lays the groundwork for a trial that could have a lasting impact on the controversial land-use movement in the west.

On 2 January, Bundy, 40, resulted a group of activists into the Malheur national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon to protest the federal governments treatment of local ranchers. The protesters, some of whom were heavily armed, took over a number of public buildings at the refuge headquarters, launching a standoff with federal authorities that dragged on for 41 days.

Bundy and two-dozen other activists were eventually arrested and now face serious felony charges for using force and threats to impede the government, which could lead some of them to spend decades behind bars.

Contrasted with shallow and uninformed media portrayings and government hyperbole, Ammon is not an radical and is not a member of any militia, patriot group, or political land protest organization, Bundys attorneys wrote in the filing. Mr Bundy is not a … so-called sovereign citizen, and he does not hold anti-government views.

The new motion claims that Bundy identifies as a federalist and an originalist, meaning he believes the federal government has overstepped its authority by owning vast swaths of land in the west and has strayed beyond its limited jurisdiction the founders intended.

This is hardly a philosophy of extremism or violence, and has been championed on both sides of todays dominant political spectrum, Bundys attorneys wrote. Originalism is a constitutional approach and philosophy with its most well-known adherents being current United States supreme court justice Clarence Thomas[ and] the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The filing also references Hugo Black, a liberal supreme court justice who also espoused originalist faiths.

Bundy and his adherents have long argued that the federal government does not have the authority to own and regulate the Malheur refuge, which is a federally protected bird sanctuary that the US Fish and Wildlife Service oversees.

The philosophy has spread among ranchers and activists in the west in recent years, propelled forward by Ammons father, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who received national attention for refusing to acknowledge federal authority on public lands by his ranch, culminating in a tense standoff in 2014.

Although constitutional experts, bolstered by a number of court decisions, are systematically refuted the Bundys claims and asserted the governments land-use authority, Ammons lawyers say the supreme court should specifically address whether Congress can forever retain the majority of the land within a State.

The federal government owns 53% of the land in Oregon.

The motion also notes that, over the past year, lawmakers in Utah have considered filing an expensive lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal land ownership.

Ammon Bundy identified alternative solutions way to raise the legal challenge, the filing says.

Its nothing radical or new, Mike Arnold, Bundys attorney, said in an interview Monday. Its a way of looking at the constitution in the context of the original words viewed through the intent of the founders.

The motion which argues that the case should be dismissed since the federal government lacks jurisdiction also claims that the occupation was a spontaneous protest and that the activists preserved the property in good condition, welcoming over a thousand guests including elected official, and prominent political leaders.

The fact that elected officials visited the protest site illustrates that it was a safe, peaceful place, Arnold said. And the protest was working to draw attention to a larger problem.

This depiction of the protest sharply contrasts the allegations of federal prosecutors, who have relied heavily on social media posts as evidence and presented the occupation as a coordinated and violent assault against the government, which left the refuge in terrible condition.

A spokesperson for the US district attorneys office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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