Mealey's Native American Law

  • 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.

  • May 10, 2021

    Judge Denies Tribe’s Motions For TRO, Injunction In Klamath Basin Water Case

    MEDFORD, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on May 6 denied motions by a Native American tribe to issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s management of water in the Klamath Basin, saying that given continuing drought conditions and competing interests of multiple parties, the bureau has consulted with all interested parties and is doing the best it can under the circumstances.

  • May 06, 2021

    Indian Health Services Contract In South Dakota Is Target Of Cert Petition

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three Native Americans on April 14 took their fight against a federal health services contract for the operation of an Indian hospital in South Dakota to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of dismissal of their treaty claims and bid for injunctive relief.

  • May 05, 2021

    9th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of RICO Claims In Tribal Membership Row

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 affirmed dismissal of a Washington Indian tribe’s long-running membership dispute for lack of exhaustion of tribal court remedies.

  • May 05, 2021

    Tribe: Federal Court’s Ruling For Insurer On ERISA Claims Demands Reversal

    CINCINNATI — A Michigan federal court impermissibly rewrote federal regulations to find that a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to pay Medicare-like rates for hospital services under a health care plan for tribal members, the tribe says in a May 3 brief on appeal for the second time in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • May 04, 2021

    New York Tribe Says Cert Not Warranted For Property Tax Dispute With County

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — With no split among controlling precedents and no threat of far-reaching impacts, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that a New York Indian tribe’s sovereign immunity shields it from a county’s attempt to foreclose on the tribe’s land for unpaid property taxes does not need to be reviewed, the tribe tells the U.S. Supreme in a May 3 response brief.

  • May 03, 2021

    Michigan Tribe Petitions For Hearing Over Great Lakes Pipeline Tunnel Permit

    LANSING, Mich. — A Native American tribe filed a petition April 26 with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) seeking a hearing on and revocation of a permit allowing construction of a tunnel underneath the lakes for a replacement oil and natural gas pipeline.

  • April 30, 2021

    Supreme Court Sets 2nd Conference Date For Tribal Church Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court said April 27 it will soon consider whether to grant the petition of a Florida church and nearly 100 church members asking whether provisions of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) are unconstitutional and whether an Indian tribe has sovereign immunity from the petitioners’ claims.

  • April 30, 2021

    9th Circuit Again Reverses, Remands Navajo Breach Of Trust Claim Over Water Rights

    PASADENA, Calif. — A 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decree establishing water rights to the Colorado River does not strip a federal court of jurisdiction to decide the Navajo Nation’s breach of trust claim against the Department of the Interior (DOI) for allegedly mismanaging the tribe’s water resources, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 28 in reversing and remanding so the tribe can amend its complaint.

  • April 29, 2021

    Indian Woman Brings McGirt Defense To High Court Over Arrests By Local Police

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should decide whether its reservation boundary and criminal jurisdiction ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma applies to a Native American woman’s arrests on a Michigan reservation by county police because the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals declined to address the question, the woman says in her April 19 petition for certiorari.

  • April 29, 2021

    Senate Votes To Disapprove Trump Administration’s Change To Methane Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate voted 52-42 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 14, which reverses the decision the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made in the waning days of the Trump administration that rescinded the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule.

  • April 28, 2021

    Judge Keeps Status Quo In Tribes’ Challenge To CARES Act Funding

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on April 26 denied injunctive relief to an Indian tribe seeking to expedite payment of coronavirus relief aid from last year after the tribe chalked up a win on appeal, saying the Treasury Department will soon announce a revised method for allocating the funds.

  • April 27, 2021

    Judge Finds Reservation Murder Meets Criteria For Federal Prosecution

    PIERRE, S.D. — A federal judge on April 20 declined to dismiss a two-count indictment of a tribal member accused of killing his horseshoes companion by mistake on a South Dakota Indian reservation, finding that the court has jurisdiction over the murder and weapons charges under the Major Crimes Act (MCA).

  • April 27, 2021

    South Carolina Tribe, DOI Awarded Judgment In Challenges To Casino Approvals

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on April 16 dealt South Carolina’s only federally recognized Indian tribe a complete win in its efforts to build a casino in North Carolina, awarding it summary judgment on all claims of two other tribes that were seeking to halt the project.