SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Government on April 8 filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that it should remand for dismissal as moot a lawsuit brought by Native American tribes who contend that the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would threaten their land and water because it would transport hydraulically fractured oil (Indigenous Environmental Network, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al., No. 18-36068, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on April 17 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, contending that President Donald J. Trump had authority under the Antiquities Act to reduce the size of two national monuments because the plain language of the act is “consistent with presidential modification authority” (The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, D. D.C.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 15 tuned down a request to halt an Indian tribe’s election in a long-running dispute among warring tribal factions, saying there will be ample opportunity to contest the election once the results are in (Marie Diane Aranda, et al. v. Tara Katuk Mac Lean Sweeney, et al., No. 2:19-cv-00613, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64432).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 4 denied a motion by 28 municipalities and native American tribes to vacate the conditional transfer of their opioid lawsuits to the opioid multidistrict litigation (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2804, JPMDL, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58890).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Native American woman cannot pursue a land takings claim against the United States under the Indian Tucker Act because individuals cannot bring claims under that statute, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 12 (Sharon Cloud v. United States, No. 19-1219, Fed. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10856).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Indian tribes will not be able to use their tribal sovereign immunity to prevent patents from facing inter partes review (IPR) before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) after the U.S. Supreme Court on April 15 declined to review the issue (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, et al. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 18-899, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should vacate a ruling that Indian tribes are entitled to recover more than $8.25 million in response costs from a Canadian industrial polluter for enforcement actions taken under federal law because the consequences of the ruling to American businesses will be drastic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says in an April 5 amicus curiae brief in support of the polluter’s petition for review (Teck Metals Ltd. v. The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, et al., No. 18-1160, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With a lack of conflicting rulings and with the U.S. Supreme Court’s prior rejection of similar cases, there is no need for the high court to take on the question of whether the National Labor Relations Board has jurisdiction over Native American casinos and their tribal operators, the NLRB argues in an April 10 response brief (Casino Pauma v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 18-873, U.S. Sup.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on April 8 agreed to make a pretrial determination in a child sex abuse case on whether the land upon which the alleged crimes occurred is defined as Indian country for purposes of federal criminal jurisdiction (United States v. Tyrone Coriz, No. 1:17-cr-1105, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59907).
SEATTLE — An Indian convict’s federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus is moot because he has already been released from prison after having served his challenged sentence for a probation violation, a Washington federal judge ruled April 8 in dismissing the petition at the recommendation of a magistrate judge (Tyrone Grant Brisbois v. Tulalip Tribal Court, et al., No. 2:18-cv-01677, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60318).
BAY MILLS, Mich. — Bay Mills Indian Community on April 8 became the first Native American tribe in Michigan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on its reservation, the tribe says in a news release issued the same day.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Comanche Nation in Oklahoma filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 14, arguing that the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals misapplied a provision of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in affirming denial of the tribe’s bid to halt construction of a nearby casino (Comanche Nation of Oklahoma v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-1261, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1286).
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on April 4 set aside defaults entered against a town and its tax assessor in an action filed by four Native American tribes seeking to stop the state and several municipalities from collecting property taxes on their reservations, finding that the tribes will not be prejudiced by reversal of the defaults (Lac Courte Oreilles Band, et al. v. Scott Walker, et al., No. 18-cv-992, W.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57868).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on March 26 ruled that the operator of the Central Arizona Project is obliged to deliver an extra 10,000 acre-feet of water to a Native American tribe under terms of a 1984 water rights settlement (Ak-Chin Indian Community v. Central Arizona Water Conservation District, No. 17-918, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50436).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Native American tribe filed an amicus curiae brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 5 arguing that a lower court’s decision, which held that the federal government’s cancellation of a hydraulic fracturing lease was “arbitrary and capricious,” was incorrect. The Trump administration also filed a brief contending that the lower court’s decision should be reversed (Solenex LLC v. David Bernhardt, et al. No. 18-5345, D.C. Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of law professors on March 27 filed a revised amicus curiae brief in the District of Columbia District Court contending that the President Donald J. Trump’s decision to reduce the size of national monuments, which would allow access to land for hydraulic fracturing, was not authorized by the Antiquities Act (Hopi Tribe, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2590; Utah Diné Bikéyah, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2605; and Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2606, D. D.C. [consolidated]).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals court panel on April 2 affirmed the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her young daughter after finding that the trial court properly applied the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to determine that the girl is ineligible for tribal membership (In re D.R., San Bernardino County Children and Family Services v. J.G., No. E071397, Calif. App, 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2291).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in directing a trial court to abstain from hearing a suit filed by tribes and tribal members challenging South Dakota’s process for removing children from their homes in emergency situations, the tribes and members argue in a March 4 petition to the U.S. Supreme Court (Oglala Sioux Tribe, et al. v. Lisa Fleming, et al., No. 18-1245, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1165).
ATLANTA — Equifax Inc. and a putative class of consumers each filed briefs in Georgia federal court on April 1, opposing a motion by three Native American tribes to establish a separate track for the tribes in the centralized multidistrict litigation MDL over the 2017 Equifax data breach, arguing that the tribes have not identified any unique claims or discovery means that would necessitate a separate track (In Re: Equifax Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).
NEW ORLEANS — Hundreds of Indian tribes, more than 50 economic scholars, a handful of constitutional law experts who in the past opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and two Republican-led states said striking down the entire law simply because Congress zeroed out the individual mandate penalty lacks any historic or legal precedent while warning about the far-reaching impact doing so would have. The amici were among 21 parties filing briefs on April 1 (Texas, et al. v. U.S.A., et al., No. 19-10011, 5th Cir.).