Mealey's Native American Law

  • April 09, 2021

    Group: Agency Violated Law When It Approved Federal Fracking Leases

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An environmental advocacy group on April 8 sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in District of Columbia federal court, challenging its decision to offer 32 oil and gas leases for hydraulic fracturing in “a culturally rich and sacred landscape in southeastern Utah, without proper study and acknowledgement of the likely harms to historic, cultural, and natural resources.”

  • April 09, 2021

    Judge Stays National Monument Fracking Case, Questions Litigation’s Future

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 8 stayed a case brought by environmental groups that sued former President Donald J. Trump for his decision to shrink two national monuments for hydraulic fracturing purposes and ordered the parties to file a status report by June 3 to advise the court whether they intend to continue the litigation.

  • April 07, 2021

    New York Couple Taxed On Income From Seneca Land Seek Supreme Court Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ignored confirm that Congress never meant to allow the federal government to tax income derived from the land of a New York tribe’s aboriginal territory, a couple fighting the federal income tax levied on their gravel-mining income say in a March 31 Supreme Court petition for certiorari.

  • April 07, 2021

    Split 5th Circuit Partly Upholds Constitutionality Of Indian Child Welfare Law

    NEW ORLEANS — A widely divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 6 mostly held that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its implementing rule do not violate the U.S. Constitution while at the same time ruling that parts of the law are unconstitutional.

  • April 07, 2021

    D.C. Circuit Won’t Grant Oregon Farmers’ Request Regarding Tribes’ Water Rights

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia federal appeals court on March 19 said a federal court cannot invalidate a protocol between the 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.

  • April 07, 2021

    Pueblos Ask Court To Revoke Trump Administration Water Rule Regulations

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Trump administration’s repeal and replacement of the 2015 Clean Water Rule unlawfully took away pollution protection for most of the New Mexico desert arroyos that for years have been “channels for life-giving water in times of rain or snowmelt” for Native Americans, two pueblos say in a March 26 federal court lawsuit seeking to have the new regulations tossed.

  • April 06, 2021

    Judge Orders California To Negotiate With Tribes In Good Faith For Gaming Deals

    FRESNO, Calif. — California has negotiated in bad faith with several Indian tribes on new state gaming compacts, asking for more than is allowed under federal law while not showing that it offered substantial concessions in return, a federal judge held March 31 in awarding the tribes summary judgment.

  • April 05, 2021

    High Court Rejects Cert For Yakama Nation’s Police Jurisdiction Action

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Denial of an injunction request by a Washington Indian tribe seeking to block a city from exercising any criminal jurisdiction on tribal land stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 5 denied the tribe’s petition for certiorari.

  • April 02, 2021

    Expanded Discovery Needed For Cherokee Nation Trust Claims, Magistrate Judge Rules

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal magistrate judge on March 31 denied a request by the U.S. government to block discovery by the Cherokee Nation in its quest for an accounting of billions of dollars in assets held in trust by the government, saying the tribe is entitled to the information it seeks and calling the sought-after accounting “long overdue.”

  • April 01, 2021

    10th Circuit Upholds Win For Tribal Business In Worker’s Race Discrimination Action

    DENVER — A former employee of a tribally owned business failed to state a federal race discrimination claim because she did not present sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment or that she was fired because she is Black, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 30 in affirming summary judgment for the business.

  • March 30, 2021

    Judge Declines To Dismiss Tribe’s Claims Against Opioid Distributors, Pharmacies

    MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Public nuisance, negligence and conspiracy claims leveled by the Cherokee Nation against opioid distributors and pharmacies survived two motions to dismiss on March 29 when an Oklahoma federal judge turned to the “persuasive authority” of rulings by a multidistrict litigation court in deciding that all grounds for dismissal are baseless.

  • March 30, 2021

    Tribal COVID Aid Clearly Not Meant For Alaska Corporations, Indian Tribes Argue

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should affirm that when Congress set aside $8 billion for tribal governments in last year’s federal COVID-19 relief funding package, it did not intend for any of the money to go to Alaska Native corporations (ANCs), several federally recognized Indian tribes say in two March 24 respondent briefs on the merits.

  • March 29, 2021

    9th Circuit Reinstates Some Of Fired Tribal Officer’s Federal Tort Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — While retaliation claims by a fired officer for a tribe whose police department operates under a contract with the United States are barred by the discretionary function exception in the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), his claims for negligence and failure to follow proper procedures in firing him are not, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 26 in partly affirming, partly reversing and remanding.

  • March 29, 2021

    Judge Acknowledges Victims’ Indian Status In Post-McGirt Child Abuse Case

    TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge overseeing a criminal case involving federal child sex abuse charges that were filed after a state court dismissed state charges due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma took judicial notice on March 24 that the alleged victims are Indians and the alleged crimes happened on a reservation.

  • March 26, 2021

    Oklahoma Tribe’s Fight Against Other Tribe’s Casino Ends With Dismissal

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The lack of a live controversy and the failure to state a claim sink for good an Oklahoma tribe’s long-running lawsuit challenging another tribe’s competing casino, a federal judge ruled March 25 in dismissing a case that was contested all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • March 26, 2021

    Indian Prisoner’s Bid For COVID Relief Money From Tribe Tossed By Federal Judge

    OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on March 22 agreed with a magistrate judge and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction claims of a Native American prisoner that his tribe violated his civil rights by not giving him a share of federal coronavirus relief funding.

  • March 23, 2021

    Justices Hear Arguments In Suit Over Authority Of Tribal Police Officers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 23 tried to get a handle on when a tribal police officer can detain a non-Indian on a public road through a reservation, with an attorney for the federal government arguing for more tribal police authority and counsel for a criminal suspect saying such authority is more limited, as a divided appeals court held.

  • March 22, 2021

    Judge Says Status Of Tribal Court Judgment Must Be Decided 1st In Landowner’s Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on March 18 split the proceedings in a dispute between an Indian tribe and a neighboring landowner so he can first decide whether to recognize and enforce a tribal court judgment in favor of the tribe directing the landowner to abide by the tribe’s laws and regulations on the property.

  • March 19, 2021

    Justices Ask For 2nd Response In Seminole Tribe Church Row

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 said it wants to hear from the final party — the widow of a former pastor — in a church leadership dispute involving the Seminole Tribe of Florida in which claims that her actions violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act were deemed barred by the separation of church and state, requesting a response from her after the tribe had responded to a petition for certiorari.

  • March 19, 2021

    Justices Must Remedy Police Jurisdiction Ruling, Washington Tribe Says

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court intervention is needed for a Washington Indian tribe’s challenge to a police jurisdiction ruling by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals because the decision goes against the principle that control of federal jurisdiction on Indian land is in the hands of Congress, not the states, the tribe says in its March 12 reply brief in support of its high court petition.

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