Mealey's Native American Law

  • July 09, 2021

    Native American Group:  Claims Against Fracking Plan Valid

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Native American group on June 11 filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that it should vacate the Record of Decision (ROD) issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that approved a hydraulic fracturing development project in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope because the Naval Petroleum Reserve Production Act’s (NPRPA) statute of limitations does not apply to the group’s claims under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

  • July 08, 2021

    Water District’s Claims Dismissed In Arizona Tribe’s Water Quality Action

    PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on July 6 dismissed a water district’s counterclaim against an Indian tribe and cross-claim against the United States in the tribe’s suit against two water districts over the quality of the water provided to the tribe, finding that the claims are prohibited by sovereign immunity.

  • July 07, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Says Tribe Cannot Intervene In Suit Over Casino Land

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 6 affirmed denial of a California Indian tribe’s bid to intervene in a federal suit filed by another tribe seeking to have a piece of land approved for a casino, finding that the would-be intervenor lacks constitutional standing to interject itself into the dispute.

  • July 07, 2021

    Tribes’ Clean Water Rule Suit Held In Abeyance Due To EPA’s New Rulemaking

    LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A New Mexico federal magistrate judge on June 24 placed in abeyance the United States’ obligation to respond to a Native American tribe’s motion for summary judgment against the Trump administration’s Clean Water Rule.

  • July 06, 2021

    Blue Cross Insurer Says 6th Circuit Should Uphold Denial Of Tribe’s ERISA Claims

    CINCINNATI — A Michigan federal court correctly found 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 because the parties’ agreements make clear that the insurer would process claims according to its “standard operating procedures,” the insurer argues in a June 30 appellee brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • July 01, 2021

    Supreme Court Reverses, Says Arizona Voting Restrictions Are Not Discriminatory

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled July 1 that Arizona’s policy of not counting out-of-precinct ballots and its partial ban on ballot collecting do not violate the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and that the ballot harvesting law was not enacted to discriminate against Native American, Hispanic or Black voters, reversing the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • June 30, 2021

    Alaska Native Village, Former Officials Spar Over Election In 9th Circuit

    SAN FRANCISCO — Three former tribal council members in Alaska are trying to “gaslight” the courts by arguing that a federal judge improperly interfered with a tribal election because the suit the new council filed did not challenge the election, which had already been held, the council tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 23 appellee brief in urging affirmance of default judgment against the former members.

  • June 29, 2021

    9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Tribal Business’s Challenge To Cigarette Taxes

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 16 affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a tribal corporation’s challenge to California’s taxation and regulation of its intertribal cigarette sales for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction, with one concurring judge writing separately to express “doubts” about whether the corporation qualifies as an Indian “tribe or band” entitled to federal jurisdiction.

  • June 29, 2021

    Ex-Employee’s Bias, Retaliation Claims Against Minnesota Tribe Dismissed

    MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota on June 28 dismissed a fired tribal employee’s age discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims against the tribe and several of its officers, which the judge said are shielded from the worker’s suit by the tribe’s sovereign immunity.

  • June 28, 2021

    Supreme Court Denies Cert For Oneida Member’s Land Ownership Claim

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a New York man cannot claim ownership of a piece of land for a purported branch of the Oneida Indian Nation stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 denied the man’s petition for a writ of certiorari.

  • June 28, 2021

    Review Denied For Issue Preclusion Rulings In Dispute Over Truck Seized By Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a woman seeking review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that her second lawsuit over the 2015 seizure and forfeiture of her truck by tribal police was barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion.

  • June 25, 2021

    Alaska Native Corporations Eligible For COVID-19 Tribal Relief, Supreme Court Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on June 25 that Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) are entitled to receive $450 million from last year’s first federal COVID-19 relief funding package because they are “Indian tribe[s]” under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA).

  • June 25, 2021

    Rehearing Denied For 6th Circuit’s Finding That Tribe Does Not Have Reservation

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 23 declined to reconsider a panel ruling that a Native American tribe does not have a reservation in Michigan under an 1855 treaty with the United States because the land that was set aside for the tribe consisted of many separate allotments for individual tribal members.

  • June 25, 2021

    With Immunity Intact, Suit Over Tribe’s Dam Project Fails, 9th Circuit Rules

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon Indian tribe had its victory in federal court reversed but then won on different grounds when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 23 ordered dismissal of a citizen suit alleging that the tribe’s operation of a hydroelectric project violates the Clean Water Act (CWA) after finding that the tribe never waived its sovereign immunity or was stripped of immunity by the CWA.

  • June 24, 2021

    Impact Of Indian Boarding Schools Target Of New Interior Initiative

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, issued a memorandum to the department June 22 directing staff to conduct a study on now-defunct Indian boarding schools where the government placed Indian children for decades and where many of the children were mistreated and died.

  • June 24, 2021

    Tribe Can’t Use Its New Court To Invalidate Federal Court Judgment, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — While the right of Indian tribes to govern themselves and receive the benefits of tribal sovereignty is “unquestioned,” a tribe in California stretched its sovereign powers too far when it created a tribal court just to challenge a breach of contract judgment imposed against it by a federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held June 21 in enjoining the tribe from using a tribal court proceeding to overturn the federal court’s decision.

  • June 22, 2021

    Congresswoman Backs Oneida Member’s Petition Over Land Ownership Claim

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A member of Congress filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 to support an 83-year-old Native American in New York in a dispute with a tribe over ownership of a piece of land, saying laches bars the tribe from asserting its sovereignty over the land.

  • June 21, 2021

    California Card Rooms Denied Certiorari In Fight Against Tribe’s Casino

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by two California card rooms that challenged the federal government’s approvals for an Indian tribe’s casino and lost.

  • June 15, 2021

    Disputed Tract Is Part Of Washington Reservation, 9th Circuit Says In Affirming

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 held that a disputed 121,000-acre tract of land in Washington state is part of an Indian tribe’s reservation under an 1855 treaty with the United States, affirming a trial court’s judgment for the tribe and against a county.

  • June 14, 2021

    Supreme Court Turns Away Petition Over Indian Health Service Contract

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 14 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by three Native Americans who said a federal health services contract for the operation of an Indian hospital in South Dakota violated an 1869 treaty and federal law.

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