Mealey's Native American Law

  • July 07, 2020

    Federal Judge Shuts Down Pipeline Until Corps Does Environmental Study

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on July 6 shut down the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), saying the “significant disruption” the shutdown will cause is outweighed by the “seriousness” of the federal government’s lack of response to Indian tribes’ concerns about the pipeline’s location and operation, so “the flow of oil must cease” (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 16-1534, D. D.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117866).

  • July 01, 2020

    Tribal Cigarette Company Takes Final Shots At Cert For California Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court guidance is required to cure a conflict among the courts created when a California appeals court incorrectly held that the state has personal jurisdiction to regulate the sale of cigarettes by an Indian tobacco company in California, the company argues in its June 23 reply brief (Native Wholesale Supply Company v. People of California ex rel. Xavier Becerra, No. 19-985, U.S. Sup.).

  • July 01, 2020

    Arizona Appeals Court Says Hopi Tribe Must Pay Fees For City, Ski Resort

    PHOENIX — On remand, an Arizona appeals court on June 30 affirmed the award of attorney fees to a city and a ski resort operator in their long-running battle with a Native American tribe over the resort’s use of the city’s treated sewage water to make snow (Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership, et al., No. 1 CA-CV 16-0521, Ariz. App. Div. 1).

  • June 30, 2020

    9th Circuit Decides Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction Row In Favor Of Washington State

    SAN FRANCISCO — Washington state and local police have criminal jurisdiction over members of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation who commit crimes on reservation land, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held June 29 after interpreting a 2014 state proclamation retroceding jurisdiction over some crimes to the United States (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County, et al., No. 19-35199, 9th Cir.).

  • June 29, 2020

    With Denial Of Certiorari, 9th Circuit’s Tribal Immunity Ruling Stands

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A court challenge by tribal and environmental groups to a Navajo Nation coal mining operation is over, with the tribal mining company’s sovereign immunity intact, after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 declined to review the case (Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al., No. 19-1166, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 29, 2020

    Tribal Payday Lending Defendant Loses Cert Bid, As Did Co-Defendant

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 let stand the fraud and racketeering convictions of a Pennsylvania man for his role in a payday lending scheme involving Native American tribes with its second denial of certiorari from the criminal case (Charles M. Hallinan v. United States, No. 19-1087, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 29, 2020

    High Court Seeks Government’s View On Tribal Jurisdiction Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court wants to know the federal government’s opinion on whether a consolidated Indian tribe in Idaho has jurisdiction to collect fees from a company to store hazardous waste at a Superfund site on tribal land, with the court on June 29 asking the solicitor general to brief the issue (FMC Corporation v. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, No. 19-1143, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 29, 2020

    Seminole Official Awarded Immunity Due To ‘Impermissible Inference Stacking’

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A trial court wrongly stacked one inference atop another in declining to extend tribal sovereign immunity protection to a board member of a Seminole corporation, a Florida appeals court held June 24 in granting the official’s certiorari petition, finding that he is entitled to the same sovereign immunity that the other tribal officials in the case received (Larry Howard v. MMMG, LLC, et al., Nos. 4D19-3538, 4D19-3539, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).

  • June 26, 2020

    Government Dismisses Appeal In Tribe’s Pursuit Of 2nd Recognition Request

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Michigan Indian tribe can continue with its quest for federal recognition after the U.S. Department of Justice on June 24 dropped its appeal in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a federal judge’s ruling sending the tribe’s bid to re-petition for recognition back to the Department of the Interior (DOI) (Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 20-5152, D.C. Cir.).

  • June 26, 2020

    U.S. Government Seeks High Court Review Of Tribal Police Jurisdiction Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government on June 19 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the extent of an Indian police officer’s jurisdiction to detain a non-Indian on a public road within a reservation, arguing that a ruling on the issue by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals treads on tribes’ sovereign immunity and hampers law enforcement efforts (United States v. Joshua James Cooley, No. 19-1414, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 22, 2020

    Oklahoma County Backs Certiorari Bid For Tax Dispute With Cherokee Vendor

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court intervention is needed to resolve a conflict between Oklahoma and other states on the enforcement of property tax laws on non-Indian owned property leased to tribal casinos, the Tulsa County tax assessor says in a June 18 amicus curiae high court brief (Rogers County Board of Tax Roll Corrections, et al. v. Video Gaming Technologies, Inc., No. 19-1298, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 22, 2020

    Tribes’ Win Intact As High Court Denies Klamath Farmers’ Cert Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 22 declined to review a long-running dispute between farmers and Native American tribes over the rights to Klamath River water, letting stand a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals victory for the tribes and the fish populations they sought to protect (Lonny E. Baley, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 19-1134, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 22, 2020

    Justices Decline To Review Land-Into-Trust Deal For Cherokee Band

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A decision by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take 76 acres of land into trust for a band of the Cherokee Nation will stand after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 22 denied certiorari in the nation’s challenge to the ruling, which was upheld by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (The Cherokee Nation v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 19-937, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 16, 2020

    Lack Of Final Agency Action Dooms Tribal Factions’ Dispute, 9th Circuit Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court did not have jurisdiction to issue rulings in a dispute between warring factions of a Nevada Indian tribe because there was no final action by a federal agency for the court to review, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined June 15 (Winnemucca Indian Colony, et al. v. United States, ex rel. Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-17121, 9th Cir.).

  • June 15, 2020

    First Nations Cigarette Company Appeals Connecticut Regulations To 2nd Circuit

    NEW YORK — A Canadian First Nations-owned cigarette manufacturer in a June 1 appellant brief urges the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the dismissal of its constitutional challenge to a Connecticut state regulation on cigarette sales, which it asserts is an irrational requirement that is “impossible” to comply with and that conflicts with applicable federal law by regulating commerce beyond the state’s borders (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. v. John Biello, Acting Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, No. 20-1044, 2nd. Cir.).

  • June 15, 2020

    Federal Judge Declines To Halt CARES Act Payments Over Tribe’s Lawsuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on June  11 denied an Indian tribe’s request to stop the Treasury Department from sending the remaining $3.2 billion in novel coronavirus pandemic relief funding to tribes until its suit challenging the first round of funding is decided, saying the tribe will probably not succeed on its claims, and holding off on disbursing the relief money would be unfair (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation v. Steven T. Mnuchin, No. 1:20-cv-01491, D. D.C.).

  • June 15, 2020

    Lawyer Convicted In Payday Lending Case Loses High Court Rehearing Bid

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A rehearing request by an attorney seeking review of his fraud and racketeering conviction for taking part in a scheme to shield unlawful payday lending businesses with tribal sovereign immunity failed June 15 when the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition without comment (Wheeler K. Neff v. United States, No. 19-1127, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 10, 2020

    Oklahoma County Seeks High Court Review Of Tax Row With Cherokee Vendor

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Oklahoma county has taken its fight to collect taxes on gambling devices sold to an Indian company to the U.S. Supreme Court, filing a petition for certiorari May 14 in which it argues that the state’s high court got it wrong in holding that the tax is preempted by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) (Rogers County Board of Tax Roll Corrections, et al. v. Video Gaming Technologies, Inc., No. 19-1298, U.S. Sup.).

  • June 10, 2020

    Tribes Again Ask For Injunction To Get $3.2B In CARES Funding Distributed

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Several Native American tribes on June 5 renewed their request to a District of Columbia federal judge to force the Treasury Department to send the $3.2 billion still left in coronavirus aid for tribal governments immediately, saying Treasury continues to delay disbursement while the tribes continue to suffer from the pandemic (Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, et al. v. Steven Mnuchin, No. 1:20-cv-1136, D. D.C.).

  • June 10, 2020

    Judge: Age, Fear Of COVID-19 Not Reason Enough To Let Sex Offender Out Of Prison

    FARGO, N.D. — A North Dakota federal judge on June 9 denied a request for a compassionate release from a 68-year-old tribal member serving a 20-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl after finding that the prisoner’s health problems and fear of being exposed to the novel coronavirus do not entitle him to get out of prison early (United States v. Kenneth McCloud, No. 2:08-cr-00022, D. N.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100494).

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