Mealey's Native American Law

  • May 28, 2021

    Supreme Court Stays Oklahoma Criminal Jurisdiction Ruling Pending Cert Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 26 granted Oklahoma’s request for a stay of a state appeals court’s reversal of a man’s murder conviction for the slaying of a Native American woman and her two young children until a planned petition for a writ of certiorari by the state can be decided by the high court.

  • May 27, 2021

    Washington Appeals Court Upholds Land Exchange Over Protests Of Tribes

    TACOMA, Wash. — An environmental review is not required under Washington law for the exchange of land between the state and a private timber company, and the land swap does not affect the treaty rights of any Indian tribe, a state appeals court held May 24 in affirming denial of a tribe’s challenge to the exchange and declining three other tribes’ bid to dismiss the appeal.

  • May 25, 2021

    Indian Woman’s Question Unripe For Supreme Court Review, Respondents Argue

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court review is not warranted for an Indian woman’s request for certiorari on whether the high court’s reservation boundary and criminal jurisdiction rulings in McGirt v. Oklahoma apply to her arrests on a Michigan reservation by county police because she failed to press the argument in the lower courts, the county parties say in their May 14 brief in opposition to her petition.

  • May 24, 2021

    Federal Judge Refuses To Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline At Tribes’ Request

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on May 21 declined Indian tribes’ request to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which the court previously found had “acted unlawfully” in approving a pipeline easement near the tribes’ land, for “ducking the controversy” since the easement was vacated nearly a year ago.

  • May 20, 2021

    New York Tribe’s Arguments Against Certiorari Fail, County Tells High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A New York Indian tribe offers “no sound reason” that the U.S. Supreme Court should not review and reverse a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that the tribe’s sovereign immunity shields it from a county’s attempt to foreclose on the tribe’s land for unpaid property taxes, the county says in a May 18 reply brief in support of its petition for certiorari.

  • May 20, 2021

    Tribe Must Use Part 83 Process For Federal Recognition, D.C. Circuit Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal court correctly dismissed an Indian tribe’s suit seeking official recognition from the federal government because the tribe failed to exhaust its administrative remedies with the Department of the Interior (DOI), the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided May 18 in affirming.

  • May 19, 2021

    RV Owners Owe $1.4M For Use Of Tribal Land After Lease Expired, Judge Says

    SPOKANE, Wash. — Recreational vehicle owners who were evicted from their lakeside camping spots on Indian land now must pay the tribal landowners more than $1.4 million in trespass damages for using the land for the last 10 years without a lease, a Washington federal judge determined May 17 after a bench trial.

  • May 19, 2021

    6th Circuit Agrees, Tribal Group In Michigan Does Not Have A Reservation

    CINCINNATI — A group of Native American tribes does not have a reservation in Michigan under an 1855 treaty with the United States because the land that was set aside for the group consisted of many separate allotments for individual tribal members, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 18 in affirming summary judgment for Michigan’s governor.

  • May 18, 2021

    Pharmacies Want Interlocutory Review Of Controlled Substance Act Claims

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Pharmacy defendants on May 7 asked an Oklahoma federal judge to certify for interlocutory appeal his decisions that a Native American tribe can pursue its opioid claims against the defendants for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

  • May 18, 2021

    Montana Tribes, Groups Sue To Get 2 New Voting Laws Tossed

    BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana Native American tribes and tribal organizations sued the state May 17 seeking to nullify two recently enacted laws that they say are designed to make it more difficult for Indians to vote.

  • May 17, 2021

    California Referendum Vote Trumps Governor’s OK For Tribe’s Casino, Panel Rules

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals court on May 13 again ruled in favor of a longtime opponent of Indian casinos in the state, putting in jeopardy the groundbreaking for a $400 million casino proposal that a tribe and the U.S. government have been defending in both state and federal courts for nearly a decade.

  • May 17, 2021

    Supreme Court Declines Review Of Tribal Immunity, FACE Act In Church Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 17 denied certiorari for a membership dispute at a Florida church involving the constitutionality of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) and the scope of Native American tribal sovereign immunity from civil litigation.

  • May 17, 2021

    Eastern District Of Oklahoma Hands Down More Indictments Due To McGirt Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal prosecutors have secured grand jury indictments in Oklahoma charging 11 defendants with murder and other violent crimes after their cases were reversed or dismissed based on last year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the U.S. Department of Justice announced May 14.

  • May 14, 2021

    Challengers To California Tribe’s Status, Casino Ask Supreme Court For Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal law still requires that Indian tribes must have been in existence before the United States was established to be entitled to tribal sovereign immunity today, and a Native American tribe operating a casino in San Diego cannot meet that requirement, challengers to the casino tell the U.S. Supreme Court in their April 21 petition for certiorari.

  • May 13, 2021

    Government Urges Denial Of Card Rooms’ Petition Over Land Acquisition For Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the United States acquired land in trust for a California Indian tribe so the tribe could enter into the gaming business, the tribe took over jurisdiction for the land for purposes of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) without trampling on the state’s sovereignty, the federal government argues in a May 12 response brief filed at the request of the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • May 12, 2021

    Civil Rights Claims Against Indian Defendants Dismissed By Federal Judge

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A designated federal judge in New Mexico on May 11 dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction civil rights claims against a Native American school district and its superintendent filed by a woman who says she was improperly removed from an elementary school’s Indian Education Committee (IEC).

  • May 12, 2021

    5th Circuit Affirms Conviction Of Man Who Vandalized Statue Of Indian Woman

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 affirmed the conviction and one-year prison sentence of a Texas man who dumped red paint on a statue of an Indian woman to protest the celebration of indigenous people instead of Columbus Day.

  • May 11, 2021

    County Officials In Tribe’s Suit Are Not State Employees, Appeals Panel Affirms

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — County attorneys and sheriffs in Minnesota are not employees of the state under its tort claims law, a state appeals court held May 10 in affirming dismissal of indemnification claims of a county attorney and sheriff for a lawsuit filed by an Indian tribe over law enforcement jurisdiction on its reservation.

  • May 11, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Court Won’t Rehear Water Rights Case Involving Klamath Tribes

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia federal appeals court on May 10 denied a petition to rehear a panel’s March 19 decision and to certify to the Oregon Supreme Court the question of whether a federal court cannot invalidate a protocol between a federal government and a Native American tribe to take decisions about the tribe’s water rights away from Oregon state officials and give that authority to the federal government.

  • May 11, 2021

    Review Sought For Issue Preclusion Rulings In Row Over Truck Seized By Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A woman suing for the second time over the 2015 seizure and forfeiture of her truck by tribal police over drug charges says in an April 26 petition for a writ of certiorari that the U.S. Supreme Court needs to review the lower courts’ rulings on issue preclusion to prevent further injustice.

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