Mealey's Native American Law

  • September 17, 2021

    5 Of Tribe’s Water Rights Claims Are Time-Barred; Rest Transferred To Utah Court

    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.

  • September 09, 2021

    Panel Upholds Dismissal Of Former Tribal Worker’s Wrongful Discharge Claim

    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).

  • September 08, 2021

    U.S. Government’s Arguments For Cert In Tribe’s Gaming Row Fail, Texas Says

    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.

  • September 08, 2021

    Archeological Survey For Mine Can Proceed Over Tribes’ Protests, Judge Rules

    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.

  • September 08, 2021

    Judge Says Michigan Can’t Enforce Use Tax Against Tribe, Allows Tobacco Taxes

    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.

  • September 07, 2021

    Tribal Couple Petitions High Court Over Tax Liability Finding For Casino Revenue

    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.

  • September 07, 2021

    Federal Judge:  Minnesota Officials’ Suit Against Tribe, Tribal Judge Not Allowed

    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.

  • September 07, 2021

    Oklahoma Drops 1 Supreme Court Case Over McGirt; Others Still Pending

    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.

  • September 02, 2021

    Federal Judge In Oklahoma Denies Relief To Prisoner Based On McGirt

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    Texas Tribe Not In Contempt For Running Bingo Games, Magistrate Judge Rules

    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.

  • September 01, 2021

    Agencies’ Remand Motion Granted By Federal Judge In Tribes’ Clean Water Rules Suit

    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.

  • August 31, 2021

    Indian Company Urges High Court To Review Connecticut’s Cigarette Taxation Rules

    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.

  • August 31, 2021

    Tribe’s Trust Land In Iowa Eligible For Gaming, 8th Circuit Says In Affirming

    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.

  • August 31, 2021

    IRS Chief Opposes Review In Tax Dispute Over Income From Seneca Land

    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.

  • August 30, 2021

    U.S. Government Says Cert Needed For Gaming Row Between Texas, Indian Tribe

    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.

  • August 27, 2021

    Oklahoma Files 6 More Petitions Asking Supreme Court To Overrule McGirt

    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.

  • August 26, 2021

    Sioux Tribe Owed ‘Competent Physician-Led Health Care’ Under Treaty, Majority Says

    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.

  • August 25, 2021

    9th Circuit Vacates Fracking Lease Case As ‘Moot’ Amid Changed Legal Landscape

    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.

  • August 20, 2021

    Judge: Federal Approval Of Arctic Fracking Project Was ‘Arbitrary And Capricious’

    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.

  • August 20, 2021

    Leonard Peltier Loses Free Speech Suit Over Removal Of Artwork

    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.