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Mon March 19, 2007
US Supreme Court Hears WY Rancher's Case
By Evelyn Lombardo
Washington, D.C. – A Cheyenne ranch-owner is taking his case before the U-S Supreme Court this morning. He says Interior Department employees have harassed him for a right-of-way across his property for years. Frank Robbins bought a ranch in Hot Springs County to raise cattle and operate a guest ranch. But when Robbins refused the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management an easement across his property he says B-L-M officials set out to EXTORT one. Karen Budd Falon Mr. Robbins' attorney says what started out as a few denied permits turned into a pattern of harassment. Although the Fifth Amendment prevents government seizures of privately owned lands without compensation the Court will decide whether property owners can deny government access to their land. Nancy Marzulla who wrote a friend of the court brief on behalf of two Wyoming business owners says the answer to that question is a resounding yes. The Court will also decide whether the Interior Department employees are immune from a lawsuit. If not Robbins plans on suing the officials for money damages.