WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 15 dismissed five claims in a Native American tribe’s water rights complaint against the United States and Utah and transferred the remaining claims to a Utah federal court.
SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 7 affirmed that a former employee of a Washington Indian tribe’s health department cannot pursue a wrongful discharge claim against the United States because he failed to show that his employer was acting under an Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) contract when it decided to fire him, leaving the government immune from suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government uses an inapposite court ruling as precedent in an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, so its arguments favoring a grant of certiorari in a long-running dispute over an Indian tribe’s right to conduct gaming in Texas should be rejected, the state argues in a Sept. 3 supplemental brief in response to the government’s brief filed at the request of the court.
RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 3 denied a request by three Native American tribes for a preliminary injunction to halt an archeological survey for a proposed lithium mine after finding that the tribes failed to show that they would suffer “sufficiently specific irreparable harm” if the work was not delayed for tribal consultations.
MARQUETTE, Mich. — A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 26 enjoined Michigan from enforcing its use tax against an Indian tribe and its members for goods or services that are used both on- and off-reservation because it unconstitutionally does not apportion tax based on where the goods are used, as the judge found in a July 13 ruling that separately granted summary judgment in favor of the state on the tribe’s tobacco tax and other claims.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an Indian couple must pay federal income taxes on their per capita distributions from a Florida tribe’s casino is needed because it conflicts with federal law on the government’s relations with Indians, the couple argues in an Aug. 13 U.S. Supreme Court petition for a writ of certiorari.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its officials cannot get injunctive relief in federal court to halt an Indian tribe’s lawsuit in tribal court over water permit approvals for a pipeline project due to the tribe’s sovereign immunity, a Minnesota federal judge determined Sept. 3 in dismissing the DNR’s action.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma on Sept. 3 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss its first petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, with the state’s attorney general saying in a news release that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has reinstated the murder conviction in the case that prompted the petition.
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma man in state prison on drug and weapons charges is not entitled to habeas relief based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma because he is not an Indian and he did not commit a crime against a tribal member, a federal judge held Sept. 1 in denying relief from dismissal of the inmate’s petition.
LUFKIN, Texas — A Texas federal magistrate judge on Aug. 31 declined the state’s request to find an Indian tribe in contempt of a 2002 injunction by operating a bingo hall on its land, finding that gaming like bingo that is regulated by the state is not prohibited for the tribe in the injunction.
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 30 granted a voluntary motion for remand filed by defendants U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an action brought by Native American tribes seeking to reinstate the repealed 2015 Clean Water Rule and vacate a navigable waters rule. The judge also ordered that, upon remand, the Trump-era rules in place be vacated.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Canadian First Nations-owned cigarette manufacturer urges the U.S. Supreme Court in an Aug. 23 petition for a writ of certiorari to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that it says decided an important question of federal law and created conflict with high court precedent and other circuit courts by upholding Connecticut tobacco regulations that allow the state to exercise jurisdiction over out-of-state tribes and companies.
ST. LOUIS — A statute that restores federal recognition to a Native American tribe and limits the tribe’s reservation location to two counties in Nebraska does not preclude gaming on a parcel of land in a different county that the tribe seeks to have taken into trust so it can open a gambling operation there, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 30 in affirming a trial court’s findings.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — No review is needed of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that two treaties with a New York Indian tribe do not exempt tribal members from paying federal tax on income derived from the tribe’s land because the decision is correct and does not conflict with any U.S. Supreme Court or other circuit court decision, the IRS commissioner tells the high court in an Aug. 20 brief in opposition filed at the request of the court.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas can enforce its gambling laws on Indian tribes only if the type of gaming in question is prohibited by the state, and regulated gaming in the state like bingo is allowed for tribes and is subject to regulation under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), the United States says in an Aug. 25 amicus curiae brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the long-running dispute.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma filed six more petitions for writs of certiorari on Aug. 16 based on state court convictions in murder and other major crime cases that were later vacated based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on criminal jurisdiction in Indian country in McGirt v. Oklahoma, with all of the petitions seeking reversal of McGirt.
ST. LOUIS — A divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 affirmed that based on an 1868 treaty and legislation enacted since then, the federal government has a duty “to provide competent, physician-led healthcare” to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and its members.
SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 24 vacated and remanded a lawsuit challenging hydraulic fracturing activity in the Arctic, saying the case was moot because, among other reasons, the legal landscape has changed and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been updated.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Aug. 18 vacated the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of a hydraulic fracturing development project in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope, ruling that the BLM’s analysis of the environmental impact was “arbitrary and capricious” and concluding that the agency acted “contrary to law” with regard to the conclusions it made concerning oil and gas extraction.
TACOMA, Wash. — Imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier, convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975, cannot pursue a claim for violation of free speech against Washington state officials for removing his paintings from an Indian heritage display due to complaints because his lack of ownership of the paintings means he also lacks standing, a federal judge ruled Aug. 19 in awarding the state defendants summary judgment.