MINING RIGHTS: Court battle hinges on Supremacy Clause

GPAA, Brad Jones, 12/15/2014

Ochoa clears legal hurdles, set to rule in California dredging case

Miners and their opponents squared off again in California Superior Court Dec. 12 to make their cases for and against suction dredging mining in California. 

The hearing was part of the ongoing Mandatory Settlement Conference that Judge Gilbert Ochoa ordered May 1 last year in an attempt to resolve the legal battle over suction dredge mining, which was banned by the state more than five years ago.
Miners argue that the state has no authority to ban suction dredge mining under the federal Mining Law of 1872 and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which declares that federal law is the supreme law of the land. 
The settlement conference is the culmination of years of litigation involving more than a half-dozen or so consolidated lawsuits that are being heard by Ochoa in San Bernardino.
Ironically, a separate case, the Brandon Rinehart case has become pivotal in the decision.
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Significant progress made in court for California suction gold dredgers; still more work to be done

 ICMJ.com / Ron Kliewer / 12/13/2014

The DREDGE REPORT

Today was a milestone day in the battle to maintain the rights of miners to dredge on federal mining claims in California. As a plaintiff in this case, I was in the courtroom on Friday, December 12, 2014, along with fifteen miners who gathered to show their support in the ongoing fight with the various parties arrayed against them, trying to extinguish their way of life, their way of supporting their families and their way of boosting the local rural economies. It has been an upstream fight and we got to rest a bit today in a pool of tranquility. Judge Ochoa, after months of reading endless briefs and supporting cases that were cited by both sides, told us plainly where he stood on several aspects of the combined cases and what he intended to rule in the coming weeks. First I’ll get into the tall grass with some details of the court proceedings so you get a taste of how things work; then I’ll spread out the paydirt in the gold pan for you.

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