WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 upheld a federal court order vacating an easement for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), saying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “acted unlawfully” in approving the easement, but reversed the court’s order shutting down the pipeline.
SEATTLE — A Washington state federal judge on Jan. 21 sent a dispute over tribal parties’ attempt to recoup more than $48,000 from the federal government to the Department of Interior (DOI) pursuant to the primary jurisdiction doctrine to determine whether the tribal parties are successors to the tribes that were awarded the original monetary judgment in 1970.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A New York corrections officer is not entitled to summary judgment on a Native American’s claims that the officer violated the former inmate’s right to practice his religion and retaliated against him, a federal magistrate judge held Jan. 19 after finding that the ex-convict had exhausted his remedies with the prison system.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Among a series of executive orders President Joseph Biden signed on his first day in office on Jan. 20 was an order canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that it “disserves the U.S. national interest.” In the same order, he also ordered a moratorium on all activities related to the implementation of hydraulic fracturing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on Jan. 15 granted a writ of habeas corpus petition for a Native American sentenced to 90 years in prison by a state court for burglary and larceny and ordered the state to release him from prison based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark jurisdiction decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 9 allowed an oil company to intervene as a defendant in a suit filed recently by two Native American tribes and two environmental groups challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ issuance of a permit authorizing replacement of a 338-mile section of pipeline in Minnesota and North Dakota.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new “standard” established by a Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the jurisdiction of Indian police officers to detain non-Indian suspects should be rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court because it is “inconsistent with history, precedent and legislation,” current and former members of Congress tell the high court in a Jan. 15 amicus curiae brief.
LUFKIN, Texas — A man injured in a fall at a tribal casino cannot bring premises liability claims against the tribe and casino because they are shielded by sovereign immunity from suit, a Texas federal judge said Jan. 13 in adopting a magistrate judge’s recommendations and dismissing the case.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should push back briefing on the federal government’s appeal of a court injunction extending the 2020 census deadline, which has since been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, until the results of the census are presented to the president, parties challenging census deadlines that were changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic say in a Jan. 7 motion.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should turn down a request by a Texas Indian tribe to review a decision by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the tribe is subject to the state’s gaming laws because the tribe is only recycling the same rejected arguments it has used for years in the long-running dispute, Texas says in a Jan. 11 response brief in the high court.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Indian police officers do not have jurisdiction to detain a non-Indian suspect on a public road on a reservation is wrong and will have “profound” consequences on law enforcement on reservations with already high crime rates, the federal government maintains in its Jan. 8 brief on the merits in the U.S. Supreme Court.
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in northern California on Dec. 21 granted a motion by the United States to transfer a lawsuit filed by a Native American tribe challenging the conversion of water contracts into “repayment contracts” to another federal court where two similar cases are pending.
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on Jan. 11 granted a Native American tribal mineral council judgment on five affirmative defenses asserted by wind farm developers to claims that the developers interfered with the tribe’s reserved mineral rights by excavating a site on tribal land without permission from the tribe or the United States.
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Court of Appeals on Dec. 30 reversed a trial court order vacating a state water curtailment order, saying that the court lacked jurisdiction and that the issue is covered by an agreement among parties and that is in litigation in another state court that is reviewing the Klamath River Basin adjudication.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 denied a petition for certiorari in a dispute over an Indian tribe’s jurisdiction to collect annual fees for storing a private company’s hazardous waste on the tribe’s land.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 agreed to decide whether Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) are considered tribal governments entitled to receive $162.3 million from last year’s federal COVID-19 relief funding package, which is being contested by Indian tribes in two consolidated cases.
SEATTLE — Two states and dozens of Indian tribes, tribal organizations and historical preservation groups sued several federal officials and agencies Jan. 4 in Washington federal court seeking to halt the planned sale of the National Archives building in Seattle, saying the proposal shows “a callous disregard for the people who have the greatest interest in being able to access these profoundly important records.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 4 recommended denying a motion by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to dismiss a suit by the Cherokee Nation seeking an accounting of funds held in trust for the tribe by the federal government, saying the tribe’s claims are more than adequately stated.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jan. 6 issued a decision document pertaining to Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) for the construction of pipelines that carry hydraulically fractured oil and gas, finding that “the discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States” authorized by NWP 12 “will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Native American tribes and two environmental groups filed suit Dec. 24 in District of Columbia federal court to challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ issuance of a permit authorizing replacement of a 338-mile section of an oil pipeline in Minnesota and North Dakota, saying the project violates federal laws and treaties and harms the tribes.