SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The state of Idaho discriminated against a Washington ranch with perceived ties to conservationists, the 9th Circuit ruled.
The Lazy Y Ranch filed suit after failing to receive leases for grazing lands, despite submitting the highest bid.
The state argued that it denied the bid because leasing to Lazy Y would mean increased administrative costs, because cattle could wander from the unfenced land onto other properties.
The district court struck down most of the state’s evidence but said that, even considering it, the state did not have a compelling reason to deny the leases. Judge Hall agreed.
“While administrative costs might be a valid reason to deny a bidder a lease,” Hall wrote, “it simply does not offer a basis for treating conservationists differently than other bidders.”