9th Circuit: Risch can be tried for federal civil rights violations

The MSM has now noticed this decision. There is a long AP article today (9-29) in the Idaho StatesmanCivil rights case over Idaho grazing can advance. By John Miller – Associated Press Writer

The 9th Circuit has affirmed an Idaho federal district judge’s decision that individuals of the 5 member Idaho Land Board, including then Land Board member and current candidate for the U.S. Senate Jim Risch, can be tried and held personally liable for violating the civil rights (Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, also know as the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) of Lazy Y Ranch.

The alleged discriminatory denial of Lazy Y’s high bids on state endowment lands calls into question the Land Board members’ willingness to short Idaho’s school children money for their endowment and Idaho citizens the sustainable stewardship of their state lands – apparently to benefit the politically connected special interest in the state.

The federal district suit follows the Idaho Land Board’s discriminatory treatment of the Lazy Y Ranch, a ranch that sought to acquire leases to state endowment lands, because of its “perceived ties to conservationists” and whose attempt to lease state lands for conservation use from the State of Idaho were denied on several occasions even as Lazy Y was the high bidder at auction.

Monies collected from the auctioned leases of Idaho lands fund an endowment for Idaho public schools.  These lands are to be managed by the Land Board “in such manner that will secure the maximum long-term financial return” for Idaho’s school-children and to “carefully preserve” these lands.  Despite Lazy Y securing several high bids and allegedly because of its conservation purpose and “perceived ties to conservationists” Lazy Y was subjected to unfair treatment including the Land Board voiding auctions to which Lazy Y held high bids and requiring extensive management proposals other parties were not subjected to.

One example cited in the 9th Circuit Decision:

In August 2005, the IDL scheduled auctions for five of the leases. Lazy Y was the high bidder for all five. According to Lazy Y, however, an agent for prior lessees named Wally Butler orchestrated efforts to deprive Lazy Y of the leases by appealing the auctions. The appeals allegedly were on the verge of being denied by IDL staff, but before staff could act, Defendant and IDL Director Winston Wiggins unilaterally invalidated the auctions.

Wally Butler is a representative of the Idaho Farm Bureau, a livestock industry group.

Defendants, including Risch, appealed the Idaho federal district court decision to the 9th Circuit where the court upheld the federal district court and Lazy Y’s allegation of the violation of its rights.







  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Note for those who may not be from Idaho.

    Jim Risch is the current Lt. Governor, former governor, and now also the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate to replace Larry Craig.

    The Idaho Land Board is made up to the Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent for Public Instruction.

    Each is a separately elected office in Idaho.

    The court decision says the members of the Land Board, including former Land Board member Jim Risch, are potentially personally liable for violating the civil rights of Lazy Y Ranch.

    Because this is a decision from the 9th Circuit, it can only be reversed by the US Supreme Court.

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Brian Ertz