indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Appeals court to hear Cobell appeal in May
Friday, March 13, 2009
Filed Under: Cobell

The Cobell plaintiffs and lawyers for President Barack Obama will go to court on May 11 to argue a critical appeal in the long-running Indian trust fund case.

Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, and other Indian leaders filed the lawsuit in June 1996 in hopes of accounting for billions of dollars in their trust funds. After a slew of decisions, a federal judge last year said the plaintiffs were underpaid $455.6 million.

The amount was far lower than the $46 billion that the plaintiffs said was missing from the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust. They are asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on key issues that could increase the figure.

Obama, on the other hand, is continuing a cross-appeal filed by the Bush administration. The Department of Justice contends the plaintiffs aren't entitled to any money for the federal government's failure to account for the trust.

In testimony to Congress last month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he wanted to settle the suit. The comments drew a favorable response from Cobell.

"We are happy that the Obama administration appears to be taking a positive view toward resolving our case," Cobell said in a statement at the time.

But more recent comments indicate a potential shift in thinking in Washington. In an interview this week with the Associated Press, Salazar said he might wait until the D.C. Circuit issues a ruling in the case before trying to settle.

"It may create the framework for us to move forward with some kind of final resolution of the litigation," Salazar said of the pending appeal.

Cobell fired back and called Salazar's statement "an insult to Indian people." She said the administration must move now to settle rather than wait for a decision, which could be many months away.

"Let's talk settlement, serious settlement," Cobell told the AP. "I don't want words that say 'let's resolve it.'"

The plaintiffs reached a settlement in the closing months of the Clinton adminsitration but the terms were rejected by government lawyers. Talks resumed during the Bush administration but government officials walked away from the table and later asked Congress to extinguish all types of trust mismanagement claims for $7 billion.

Since that last proposal, which was made by former Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne two years ago this month, Congress has not taken a serious interest in trust reform or management issues. Democratic leaders have focused on housing, health, education and other matters.

With the 111th Congress underway, the outlook doesn't look any different. Neither Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, nor Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, have identified trust as an issue on their agendas.

The D.C. Circuit appeal will be heard by Chief Judge David B. Sentelle, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg and Judge A. Raymond Randolph. All three are very familiar with the case, having heard appeals in the past.

D.C. Circuit Order:
Cobell v. Salazar (March 13, 2009)

Lower Court Decision:
Cobell v. Kempthorne (August 7, 2008)

Related Stories:
Cobell frustrated by Salazar's comments on case (3/12)
Salazar vows to resolve Cobell trust fund lawsuit (3/10)
Elouise Cobell: Obama must make trust a top priority (01/09)
Elouise Cobell: Indians still the invisible Americans (12/19)
Obama vows Salazar will fulfill trust responsibilities (12/18)
Cobell seeks speedy appeal in long-running case (12/10)
Appeal granted for Cobell historical accounting (11/21)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Activists take annual swim to Alcatraz Island (10/21)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives ready for conference and election (10/21)
Chelsey Luger & Gyasi Ross: From slow suicide to slow healing (10/21)
Bill John Baker: Addressing breast cancer in our communities (10/21)
ICT interview with Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn of BIA (10/21)
Navajo Nation court still mulling decision in presidential case (10/21)
Column: Billy Mills still inspires 50 years after Olympic victory (10/21)
Editorial: Winnebago Tribe's business makes a big contribution (10/21)
Suquamish Tribe shares fish from hatchery at annual giveaway (10/21)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino affects reservation water (10/21)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe considers casino on ancestral Ohio site (10/21)
Town meeting for Lac Vieux Desert Band off-reservation casino (10/21)
North Fork Rancheria won't give up off-reservation casino plan (10/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation was looking for off-reservation casino (10/21)
Poarch Creeks won't confirm or deny talks for gaming compact (10/21)
Tim Giago: Deaths of Native men in Rapid City remain unsolved (10/20)
Charles 'Chuck' Trimble: Let Crazy Horse's spirit rest in peace (10/20)
Mark Trahant: Races come down to turnout in three key states (10/20)
Native Sun News: Billy Mills wows youth at Black Hills Powwow (10/20)
Cedric Sunray: Tribes abandon traditional aspects of inclusion (10/20)
Dustina Gill: Vote for Rick Weiland to protect our sacred waters (10/20)
Ousted Project Runway contestant reaffirms Puyallup heritage (10/20)
White House Tribal Nations Conference takes place December 3 (10/20)
Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture (10/20)
Robert Porter: Don't let tribal issues fall prey to partisan politics (10/20)
Gabe Galanda: Abramoff's playbook still used in Indian Country (10/20)
Jay Daniels: Let BIA make changes to rights-of-way regulation (10/20)
Mike McBride: Sovereign goodwill at a low in tribal tax dispute (10/20)
Top Navajo Nation court holds hearing in presidential dispute (10/20)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to open resort at ancestral site in Ohio (10/20)
Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas selects Lester Randall as new leader (10/20)
Editorial: Address safety concerns about tribal hunts at night (10/20)
Chukchansi Tribe sends layoff notices to most casino workers (10/20)
Rivals raise nearly $16M to block North Fork Rancheria casino (10/20)
Judge won't let BIA proceed with compact for Pojoaque Pueblo (10/20)
Candidates discuss Menominee Nation's off-reservation casino (10/20)
Opinion: Suckers help Chumash Tribe finance casino expansion (10/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe buckles to pressure on park (10/17)
Mark Trahant: Native vote could tip races in Idaho and Colorado (10/17)
Crystal Willcuts: Remembering the beauty that was my mother (10/17)
Blackfeet actress Misty Upham found dead after going missing (10/17)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.