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Mealey's Native American Law

  • October 11, 2018

    Tribes Seek Stay While They Appeal Finding That ICWA Is Unconstitutional

    FORT WORTH, Texas — Four Native American tribes on Oct. 10 sought a stay of a Texas federal judge’s recent finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) violates the U.S. Constitution, saying they will probably succeed in overturning the ruling on appeal (Chad Brackeen, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 4:17-cv-00868, N.D. Texas).

  • October 11, 2018

    9th Circuit Orders Tribes, Washington To Respond To Rehearing Request

    SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 2 ordered the state of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to respond to Teck Cominco Metals Ltd.’s Sept. 28 motion for a panel rehearing and request for en banc hearing of a Sept. 14 decision that affirmed a federal court’s finding that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a polluter of the Columbia River for enforcement actions taken under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Joseph A. Pakootas, et al. v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., No. 16-35742, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27942).

  • October 10, 2018

    9th Circuit Affirms Tribal Court Jurisdiction In Police Forfeiture Case

    SEATTLE — A patron of an Indian casino whose vehicle was confiscated by the tribe after marijuana was found inside must first present his conversion claims against a tribal officer and a towing company to the tribal court based on comity, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Oct. 9 (Curtiss Wilson v. Horton’s Towing, et al., No. 16-35320, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28430).

  • October 10, 2018

    Supreme Court Rejects Native Americans’ Bid To Halt North Dakota’s Voting Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 let stand a divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision allowing North Dakota to require street addresses to determine voter eligibility for the November general election, a practice that had been barred for the primary election by a federal court as being discriminatory against Native Americans and others (Richard Brakebill, et al. v. Alvin Jaeger, No. 18A335, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 9, 2018

    High Court Permits Split Argument In Washington State’s Tax Fight With Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A motion by the United States to participate in U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in a dispute over whether an 1855 Indian treaty protects a tribe in Washington state from paying state taxes on gasoline it hauls to a reservation was granted Oct. 9 by the high court (Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc., No. 16-1498, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 9, 2018

    State Allowed To Argue To High Court In Long-Running Alaska National Parks Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court justices announced Oct. 9 that they will allow Alaska to participate in oral arguments in a dispute over the extent of control the federal government has over land and water in Alaska national parks under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (John Sturgeon v. Bert Frost, et al., No. 17-949, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 9, 2018

    Solicitor General Can Weigh In On Indian Reservation Boundary Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 allowed the U.S. solicitor general to participate in oral arguments in a dispute over the size of a Native American reservation in Oklahoma and whether a murder occurred in “Indian country,” but did not rule on a request by the tribe in question to also argue its case before the justices (Mike Carpenter v. Patrick Dwayne Murphy, No. 17-1107, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 4, 2018

    Panel Upholds Transfer Of Opiate Drug Cases To MDL In Ohio

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Oct. 3 refused to vacate orders transferring seven cases related to the alleged marketing and distribution of opiate drugs to multidistrict litigation in Ohio, holding that the cases were factually related and involved common questions (In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804, J.P.M.L., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170489).

  • October 4, 2018

    Trump Administration: Groups’ National Monument Cases Have ‘Incurable Defects’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Oct. 1 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court contending that groups opposing the reduction in size of two national monuments have filed their lawsuits prematurely and the cases themselves “suffer multiple, incurable defects” (Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, D. D.C., The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

  • October 1, 2018

    High Court Justices Will Not Hear Dispute Over Land Acquisition For California Tribe

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on Oct. 1 for a California county’s challenge to the federal government’s taking of land for an Indian tribe’s planned casino (Amador County, California v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 17-1432, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 1, 2018

    Justices Deny Certiorari For Tribal Hunting, Fishing Rights Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dispute among Washington state Indian tribes over the right to hunt whales and seals on their traditional hunting grounds in the Pacific Ocean will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied certiorari on Oct. 1 (Makah Indian Tribe, et al. v. Quileute Indian Tribe, et al., No. 17-1592, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 1, 2018

    Circuit Split Over HUD Tribal Funding Will Not Get Supreme Court Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two rulings by different federal appeals courts about the repayment of federal housing money to Indian tribes will not be subject to U.S. Supreme Court review; the justices on Oct. 1 denied two petitions for certiorari filed by tribes and their housing agencies (Fort Peck Housing Authority, et al. v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, et al., No. 17-1353, Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, et al. v. United States, No. 17-1419, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 1, 2018

    High Court Invites Solicitor General To File Brief On Issue Of Tribal Immunity

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 invited the solicitor general of the United States to file a brief to express the views of the United States regarding an Alabama Supreme Court finding that an Indian tribe is not protected by tribal sovereign immunity from tort claims in a car crash negligence suit (Poarch Band of Creek Indians, et al. v. Casey Marie Wilkes, et al., No. 17-1175).

  • October 1, 2018

    Granddaughter Of Black Indian Slave Loses Fight For Accounting In High Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court justices on Oct. 1 said their review is not needed for claims by a descendant of a black slave of a Native American slave owner who seeks an accounting for oil and gas revenues due to black freedmen of former slaveholding Indian tribes (Leatrice Tanner-Brown, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-1681, U.S. Sup.).

  • September 28, 2018

    California Injunction Barring Indian Woman’s Cigarette Sales Stays In Place

    SAN FRANCISCO — California cannot obtain injunctive relief under its unfair competition law (UCL) claim against a member of an Indian tribe for selling untaxed cigarettes from her reservation home, but the woman can be enjoined from selling cigarettes in violation of the state’s cigarette fire safety and Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) directory laws, a state appeals panel held Sept. 25 (The People ex rel. Xavier Becerra v. Ardith Huber, No. A144214, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 855).

  • September 27, 2018

    Connecticut Federal Suit Over Irreconciled Tobacco Shipments, Threats Tossed

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Allegations of unconstitutionality surrounding a Connecticut law that revokes a license to sell tobacco products when a tobacco manufacturer is unable to reconcile nationwide sales with federal interstate shipping reports were rejected Sept. 26 by a Connecticut federal judge (Grand River Enterprises Six Nations Ltd. v. Kevin B. Sullivan, Commissioner of Revenue Services, No. 16-1087, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165114).

  • September 26, 2018

    Tribe Must Arbitrate Labor Row With Casino Union, 9th Circuit Holds

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal court properly awarded judgment on the pleadings to a labor union in its quest to have an Indian tribe arbitrate a dispute over alleged anti-union activity by the tribe at its casino, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Sept. 24 (UNITE HERE International Union v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Nos. 17-16599 and 17-16600, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27250).

  • September 25, 2018

    8th Circuit Upholds North Dakota’s Requirement Of Street Address To Vote

    ST. LOUIS — North Dakota can again use street addresses to determine voter eligibility for the November general election after a divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 stayed a federal judge’s injunction barring the address requirement in a case filed by Native Americans (Richard Brakebill, et al. v. Alvin Jaeger, No. 18-1725, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27220).

  • September 24, 2018

    Federal Judge Says More Fees For USDA Deal With Indians Not Justified

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 21 declined to award additional attorney fees to Native American farmer plaintiffs who won a $760 million settlement of their bias claims against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding that their lawyers were sufficiently compensated by the original $60 million fee award (Marilyn Keepseagle, et al. v. Sonny Perdue, No. 99-3119, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161497).

  • September 21, 2018

    Judge Keeps Expert, Denies Judgment In Tribal Police Chase Fatal Crash Suit

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. — The United States is not entitled to summary judgment for wrongful death claims involving the death of three family members during a police chase because the surviving family member’s representative presents issues of genuine fact about whether a tribal police officer’s pursuit caused the crash, an Arizona federal judge held Sept. 17 (Kaori Stearney v. United States, No. 16-08060, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157790).