SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court erred in issuing an injunction extending the 2020 census deadline, which was eventually stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the groups, municipalities and Indian tribes seeking the extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic cannot show irreparable harm because the count achieved a higher enumeration rate than other recent censuses, the federal government argues in an Oct. 23 opening brief on the merits in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (National Urban League, et al. v. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., et al., No. 20-16868, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 4 upheld the denial of injunctive relief for a California Indian tribe seeking to halt construction of the Mexican border wall, holding that the tribe failed to show that it will be harmed if the work continues (La Posta Band of the Diegueño Mission Indians v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-55941, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34913).
TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma on Nov. 2 ruled that a landowner’s case against the federal agencies that approved oil and gas leases for hydraulic fracturing could proceed despite the fact that the court could not add as a required party a Native American mineral council that was instrumental in approving the leases (David P. Hayes v. David L. Bernhardt, et al., No. 16-615, N.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204045).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A man facing federal drug charges provides no valid argument why the U.S. Supreme Court should not grant the United States’ request to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling limiting an Indian police officer’s jurisdiction in his case, the federal government says in its Oct. 28 petitioner reply brief (United States v. Joshua James Cooley, No. 19-1414, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A second petition for certiorari was filed Oct. 21 with the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ denial of COVID-19 emergency federal relief funding to Alaska Native corporations, with petitioner U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arguing that review is needed “to restore uniformity to federal law” on whether the corporations are considered “Indian tribes” (Steven T. Mnuchin v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, et al., No. 20-543, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — A man cannot pursue claims that an Indian casino in Louisiana fraudulently denied him a more than $20 million jackpot in a slot machine because the tribal defendants are protected by sovereign immunity or were not served properly, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 28 (Shannon Demond Dotson v. Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Commission, et al., No. 20-30261, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33925).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision denying a Washington Indian tribe’s challenge to its traditional fishing grounds in Puget Sound stands after the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 2 denied the tribe’s petition for review (Muckleshoot Indian Tribe v. Tulalip Tribes, et al., No. 20-195, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A split panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 27 denied the stay sought by environmental groups, states and municipalities to prevent the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule that pertains to pollution caused by the flaring of methane during oil and gas operations (California, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, No. 20-1357, Environmental Defense Fund, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-1359, [consolidated] D.C. Cir.).
NEW YORK — A New York Indian tribe’s sovereign immunity protects it from a county’s attempt to foreclose on the tribe’s land for not paying property taxes, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided Oct. 23 in affirming summary judgment for the tribe (Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Seneca County, N.Y., No. 19-0032, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33432).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alaska Native corporations turned to the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 21 in their fight for $162.3 million in COVID-19 emergency federal relief funding, saying in a petition for certiorari that they are indeed “Indian tribes” entitled to the funding pursuant to statute and precedent (Alaska Native Village Corporation Association, Inc., et al. v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, et al., No. n/a, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — A tribal member from Wisconsin failed to state a valid claim in her wrongful termination suit against a tribally owned hotel, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 21 in affirming a federal court’s alternate grounds for dismissal of the action (Crystal Holtz v. Oneida Airport Hotel Corporation, et al., No. 20-1797, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33206).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court needs to turn back the clock and overturn a 1994 Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on a Texas Indian tribe’s right to conduct gaming on its lands, tribal parties say in their Oct. 9 petition for certiorari seeking review of a more recent Fifth Circuit decision based on the earlier case (Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, et al. v. Texas, No. 20-493, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. S. CT. BRIEFS LEXIS 3180).
By John P. Katerndahl
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 19 declined to take up a taxation dispute in Oklahoma involving a Native American tribe’s gambling machines over the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas, who said the court is obligated to review the issue after creating “‘significant uncertainty’ about basic government functions” in the state with its decision in the landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma, 591 U.S. ___ (2020) (Rogers County Board of Tax Roll Corrections, et al. v. Video Gaming Technologies, Inc., No. 19-1298, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Six members of the Navajo Nation do not have standing to seek an injunction forcing Arizona to extend the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 general election because they did not show that they will be personally harmed by the normal 7 p.m. Election Day deadline, even though some tribal members face hardships when voting, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Oct. 15 (Darlene Yazzie, et al. v. Katie Hobbs, No. 20-16890, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A man facing federal drug charges tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Oct. 15 response requested by the court that certiorari is not warranted for a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling limiting an Indian police officer’s jurisdiction in his case because the decision does not conflict with high court rulings and is not in “serious tension” with various state courts decisions, as the government argued (United States v. Joshua James Cooley, No. 19-1414, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unsigned order Oct. 13, over the dissent of one justice, allowing the 2020 census to end now rather than having the count continue to the end of the month as a lower court had ordered due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., et al. v. National Urban League, et al., No. 20A62, U.S. Sup.).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Oct. 13 announced that it will contribute an additional $1 billion to what it calls its “all-in settlement amount,” previously announced for $4 billion, to resolve current and future opioids claims by states, cities, counties and Native American tribes.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court intervention is justified for a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling denying a Washington Indian tribe’s challenge to its traditional fishing grounds in Puget Sound because the trial court had continuing jurisdiction to decide the matter, the tribe says in its Oct. 7 reply brief (Muckleshoot Indian Tribe v. Tulalip Tribes, et al., No. 20-195, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government on Oct. 7 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an injunction in its attempt to end the COVID-19 delayed 2020 census now so it can meet the Dec. 31 statutory deadline to submit final population count numbers for apportioning congressional seats, Electoral College votes and $1.5 trillion in federal funding (Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., et al. v. National Urban League, et al., No. 20A62, U.S. Sup.).