A Nevada rancher who led an armed standoff against federal agents is now suing President Barack Obama, as well as several other federal and state officials, in the hopes of getting the charges against him dismissed, the Hill reported Tuesday. Bundy drew dozens of fellow ranchers to his home in Nevada in 2014 to protest heavy fines from the Bureau of Land Management for grazing his cattle on federal land.
The complaint — expected to be filed Tuesday by Bundy’s lawyers — will be against Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, former Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid and U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro. It alleges that Bundy’s constitutional rights were violated and demands that he be released from solitary confinement.
Bundy’s case began as early as 1993, after he began refusing to pay fines for grazing his cattle on federal land. The Nevada rancher does not recognize the authority of the Bureau of Land Management and has argued that his ancestors’ control over the land before it came under the protection of the federal government gives him the right to use it as he wishes.
The rancher racked up $1 million in fines by 2014; and when federal agents came to collect, he dug in with fellow ranchers in a heavily armed standoff. The case soon became a rallying call for conservatives and believers in states’ rights throughout the country.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 10, 2016
“I think Cliven is taking a stand not only for family ranchers, but also for every freedom-loving American, for everyone," Elko County rancher Cliff Gardner said during the standoff in 2014, the Washington Post reported. "I’ve been trying to resolve these same types of issues since 1984. Perhaps it’s difficult for the average American to understand, but protecting the individual was a underlying factor of our government ... My support is that I am determined to stand by the Bundy family in any fashion it takes, regardless of the threat of life or limb."
Bundy was arrested in February after his sons, Ammon and Ryan, led a similar armed standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Center in Oregon to protest the arrest of two Oregon ranchers for arson on federal lands. FBI agents arrested Cliven Bundy in Portland, Oregon, as he was traveling to Burns, Oregon, to join his sons’ standoff.