On Monday I was in Denver at the Byron White Courthouse for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in two cases for wild horses. I am a plaintiff in both these cases, and had waited an especially long time for this day, as our lawsuit was originally filed in District Court in Wyoming in September, 2014.
The old courthouse is beautiful, full of character and I enjoy looking around while waiting for our first Oral Argument. The judges were: Judge Scott M. Matheson Jr., Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe and Senior Judge Monroe G. McKay.
Our attorneys were Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP attorneys Bill Eubanks, Kathy Meyer and Nick Lawton.
Each side was only allowed 15 minutes, which could go a bit longer depending upon questions from the judges. Bill Eubanks argued for our side in both appeals. I was very impressed by his presentation and answers to questions, which were very thorough and methodical in laying out the important points. One issue that came up is that the BLM is wanting the Checkerboard case dismissed on grounds of mootness. Yet it is far from moot – on Friday the Decision Record was published by the BLM for the Checkerboard II Roundup, in which the BLM is again treating public lands as if they are private: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/59563/81678/95899/3c.DR_Checkerboard_Removal_2016.pdf
These are the two appeals:
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl Appellants v. Jewell, et al.
In the Checkerboard area in Wyoming, with alternating private and public lands on over 2 million acres we are fighting to keep our wild horse son our public lands, and to keep the BLM and private landowners treating public lands as if they are private. The consequences of this decision will have an impact on how our wild horses are treated in every Herd Management Area that includes private lands – not just other Checkerboard Areas like in Utah and Nevada.
WY State of Wyoming, Appellant v. United States Department of the Interior DOI, et al.; Intervenors American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl
In this appeal, the state of Wyoming sued the BLM to force them to remove wild horses from 7 herd management areas that were estimated to have more wild horses than the Appropriate Management Level. Here we a fighting to keep management of wild horses in Federal hands, where it belongs, rather than turning the management of our wild horses over to states who would as soon remove them all.
It was fascinating to me to listen to the back and forth between the attorneys and the judges. It was hard for me to tell how our side was doing, but I am hoping for the best. I was proud to be there representing our wild horses. We should hear the decision for both appeals in the next several weeks.
Upcoming Checkerboard II Roundup
Wyoming v. BLM and Intervention
Checkerboard Roundup and Lawsuit