California Supreme Court rules against Rinehart

California Supreme Court rules against Rinehart By Brad Jones

The Supreme Court of California has ruled against suction dredge mining in the People v. Rinehart case. The court opinion was handed down this morning at 10 a.m. “We conclude the state’s moratorium is not preempted. The federal laws Rinehart relies upon reflect a congressional intent to afford prospectors secure possession of, and in some instances title to, the places that they mine,” the court stated. “But while Congress sought to protect miners’ real property interests, it did not go further and guarantee them a right to mine immunized from the exercises of the states’ police powers. We reverse the Court of Appeal.” Mining groups, including Public Lands for the People and the American Mining Rights Association and the Western Mining Alliance, are disappointed with the court opinion released Monday, Aug. 22.


California gold miners score another win over state

Capitol alert, Dan Walters, 1/14/2015

California’s 21st century gold miners have scored a second major victory over state efforts to restrict – or ban – them from searching for the precious metal in rivers and streams on federally owned land, such as national forests.

On Monday, San Bernardino County Judge Gilbert Ochoa, building on a previous decision by a state appellate court, declared that the state’s moratorium on using suction dredges to sift through gravel had become a de facto ban and thus violated federal mining law, which encourages mining on federal lands.


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.

Significant progress made in court for California suction gold dredgers; still more work to be done

 ICMJ.com / Ron Kliewer / 12/13/2014


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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