Members of the Apache Stronghold held a prayer ceremony Tuesday in front of the San Francisco Civic Center. While appealing to heaven, the Apache are also filing a request with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing of their case to protect Oak Flat, long held to be a sacred and holy site, from being destroyed by a copper mine.
“Oak Flat is the place we have connected with our Creator for millennia, and the generations that follow us deserve to continue this holy tradition,” said Dr. Wendsler Nosie Sr. of the Apache Stronghold. “We are glad the Ninth Circuit is going to take a closer look at this decision, and we hope it will do the right thing and protect our most sacred site at Oak Flat.”
Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, which represents Apache Stronghold, spoke about the court’s prior ruling and its subsequent decision to rehear the case en banc. This would allow the case to be reheard in front of the full 11-judge court.
“The panel’s opinion is, as Judge Berzon said, ‘illogical,’ ‘flawed,’ and ‘absurd,” Goodrich said. “The ruling conflicts with the decisions of other circuits and the Supreme Court, and it gets the law badly wrong. So we expect it to be corrected – if not by the full Ninth Circuit, then by the U.S. Supreme Court.”