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Madera grad readies for Supreme Court

For The Madera Tribune

Ian Wieland.


Madera High School alumna Ian Wieland will be presenting a case before the United States Supreme Court in March and is ready for the opportunity in front of the highest court in the nation.

“It’s interesting given the time we are in,” Wieland, a 2003 graduate of MHS, said. “Normally, we would go back there, but we’re in a pandemic. We’re waiting to see if it will be on Zoom, CourtCall or we can actually go back there. Most of the briefing has been done. We’re working on the reply brief. There’s another attorney is going to be doing the oral argument. That’s not on me. My perspective, the work has been done. Everyone that is involved in it, including our clients, there are going to be nerves involved. We’re being positive about the case and our chances. We are suing the state of California. The court took this case on. Less than one percent of cases get accepted by the U.S. Supreme court. Since they accepted it, we feel good. We think we have a strong likelihood of success.”

Wieland’s law firm, Sagaser, Watkins and Wieland, is representing Fowler Packing and Northern California-based Cedar Point Nursery while Pacific Legal Foundation, a legal nonprofit, is teaming with them to represent the growers. Sagaser, Watkins and Wieland are challenging a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a California regulation making the employers allow union organizers on their property.

According to Wieland, the petition asks whether forcing growers to permit union organizers violates their Fifth Amendment rights against having their private property taken without compensation. Cedar Point and Fowler Packing sued the California Agriculture Labor Relations in February, 2016, seeking a court order that the union access rule violates their Fourth Amendment right against seizure of property and their Fifth Amendment right against government taking without compensation.

“The facts that gave rise to the case was in 2015,” Wieland said. “Basically, it started with a lawsuit in federal court in Fresno. It went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and worked its way to where we are now. With a case like this to go to the supreme court, it takes years.”

The case will be heard on March 22, whether it is over the computer or in Washington D.C.

“It’s exciting,” Wieland said. “They have the final say. A couple of things can happen. They can give a clear ruling that decides the issue once and for all. Another is a split decision. Either way, they are going to make a final ruling and send it to the lower courts.”

A benefit of appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, Wieland will become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

“That has special privileges,” Wieland said. “They have a special library and special seating. It’s super cool.”

Even after eight years in law, Wieland looks back at his time in Madera and reflects how it has made him into a better person involved in the community.

“Growing up in Madera had a real strong impact on me,” he said. “Even though Madera is really small, what I appreciated was there was a sense of community, pride in community and a sense of being involved. From a young age, growing up there, seeing everyone who influenced me was involved in community. Look around Madera, everyone is involved in the sports leagues and service clubs. I’ve been really involved. I was chair of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and Fresno Bar Association bar. Those are things that had a strong impact with me. I was student body president at Madera. Sometimes people ask why I get involved. I tell them that’s what we do in Madera. That’s what I experienced and how I was raised.”

At first, Wieland wasn’t in the law profession, He entered the political world, but found out that wasn’t for him and migrated to law. He had first-hand knowledge with his father, Charles, a Madera County judge and lawyer.

“At first, there was a strong emphasis to not go into law and push me in other directions,” Ian said. “I was exposed to law early on. I worked in politics and working in that, I realized I wanted to do something else. Working in the legal profession was something I’ve wanted to do.”

After graduating from Madera, Wielend attended Fresno State and then got his law degree from San Joaquin College of Law. He has enjoyed his time as a lawyer and is ready to face the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’ve had a great ride working with some great people,” he said. “I enjoy what I do. I enjoy representing local businesses in all industries. We work with the Madera County Farm Bureau and the Madera Chamber of Commerce. It’s great to see people that I grew up with and known forever.”



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