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Mealey's Native American Law

  • October 19, 2018

    Federal Judge Denies Tribe’s Claim Of ‘Legislative Process Privilege’ In Land Case

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on Oct. 3 granted a motion by the United States to compel a native American tribe to produce documents that the tribe claims are subject to the “legislative process privilege” (Pueblo of Jemez v. United States, No. 12-0800, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171747).

  • October 18, 2018

    Native American Worker Loses Race Bias Claim On Summary Judgment

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A medical officer candidate at an Indian hospital failed to show that he was fired because he is Native American or that the reasons for his firing were merely pretext for racial discrimination, a New Mexico federal judge held Oct. 15 in awarding summary judgment to the candidate’s employer (Calbert Lee v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, No. 16-366, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176719).

  • October 18, 2018

    Amici Plead For Reversal Of New York’s Tribal Cigarette Tax Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Native American tribes in New York asked the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 9 to grant certiorari to decide how the New York Indian Law applies to the state’s attempt to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on an Indian reservation to nontribal members (Eric White, et al. v. Barbara D. Underwood, et al., No. 18-297, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 17, 2018

    Tribe: Venue Of Fracking Permit Dispute Should Not Be Moved To North Dakota

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation on Oct. 15 filed a brief in District of Columbia federal court arguing that a hydraulic fracturing company and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) should not be permitted to transfer a fracking permit dispute to North Dakota because the tribe’s preference for venue is “entitled to substantial deference” (Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation v. The United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-1462, D. D.C.).

  • October 16, 2018

    9th Circuit Declines To Rehear Parents’ ICWA Race Bias Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by parents of Native American children whose parental rights have been terminated and whose class claims challenging the legality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were deemed moot in a recent Ninth Circuit decision (Carol Coghlan Carter, et al. v. John Tahsuda, et al., No. 17-15839, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28964).

  • October 15, 2018

    Arbitration Row Over Indian Casino Tax Not Cert Worthy, High Court Justices Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 15 denied certiorari for a ruling vacating an arbitration award in favor of an Oklahoma Indian tribe in a dispute with the state over a casino drink tax on the ground that a gaming compact’s arbitration section is unenforceable (Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. Oklahoma, No. 17-1624, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 12, 2018

    California Tribe Sues Over Government’s Changes To Salmon Fishery

    EUREKA, Calif. — A California Indian tribe sued the U.S. government Oct. 10 in federal court to protect a threatened salmon species that has always been “the mainstay of the life and culture of the Tribe” (Hoopa Valley Tribe v. Wilbur Ross, et al., No. 1:18-cv-06191, N.D. Calif.).

  • 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).