Mealey's Native American Law

  • 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Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an action brought by Native American tribes seeking to reinstate the repealed 2015 Clean Water Rule and vacate a navigable waters rule.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.

  • August 20, 2021

    Tribe Tells 6th Circuit Blue Cross ‘Squandered’ ERISA Plan Assets

    CINCINNATI — A Michigan federal court erred in finding that a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to pay Medicare-like rates for hospital services under a health care plan for tribal members, the tribe says in an Aug. 18 reply brief seeking reversal in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • August 18, 2021

    Florida Casino, Card Room Sue DOI Over Approval Of Tribe’s Online Sports Betting

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government’s approval of a tribal-state gaming compact allowing a Florida Indian tribe to conduct online sports betting for gamblers anywhere in the state, where sports betting is otherwise illegal, is unlawful and should be vacated, a casino and a card room say in an Aug. 16 lawsuit filed in District of Columbia federal court.

  • August 17, 2021

    Judge Denies Dismissal Of Suit Against Indiana Tribal Officers For Casino Arrest

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A man can proceed with his illegal search and seizure claims against tribal police officers over an incident at the tribe’s casino because his amended complaint levels allegations against the officers in their individual capacities, so tribal sovereign immunity “is not implicated,” an Indiana federal judge held Aug. 16 in denying the officers’ motion to dismiss.

  • August 17, 2021

    Opponents Of Tribe’s Casino Lose Summary Judgment Battle In California

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Department of the Interior (DOI) and a California Indian tribe again won summary judgment, this time on remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in their fight against opponents of the tribe’s planned casino, with a federal judge ruling Aug. 5 that the DOI’s environmental reviews for the project were proper.

  • August 13, 2021

    Oklahoma Criminal Appeals Court Says McGirt Is Not Retroactive

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Prisoners in Oklahoma whose convictions for major crimes became final before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma cannot use the decision as a get-out-of-jail-free card, the state’s criminal appeals court held Aug. 12, reversing a trial court’s grant of post-conviction relief for a convicted murderer based on McGirt.

  • August 13, 2021

    9th Circuit Agrees Issue Preclusion Blocks Tribe’s Bid For Hunting Rights Ruling

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 6 affirmed that issue preclusion bars a Washington Indian tribe from seeking a declaration that it is a signatory to an 1855 treaty and that its members still have the treaty-given right to hunt throughout the state because its treaty rights were already determined in prior litigation.

  • August 12, 2021

    Quiet Title Action Against Swinomish Tribe Dismissed By Washington Federal Judge

    SEATTLE — Sovereign immunity blocks a property owner’s claims against a Washington Indian tribe in a dispute over a strip of land, and the suit fails because the landowner cannot join the tribe and the federal government as parties due to their immunity, a federal judge held Aug. 9 in granting the tribe’s motion to dismiss.

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