indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Indigenous activists reclaim nation's capital in defiance of Trump (4/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ends appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit (4/28)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (4/28)
Senate panel takes up bill to bring AMBER Alert funding to tribes (4/28)
Gun Lake Tribe prepares for grand opening of casino expansion (4/28)
Arne Vainio: We lost a fluent Ojibwe speaker in Larry Smallwood (4/28)
Native Sun News Today: Runners from Standing Rock head to Ohio (4/28)
James Giago Davies: People tell me it's better to read about pets (4/28)
Harold Monteau: Supreme Court stirs smelly pot of fish head stew (4/28)
Steven Newcomb: 'Picking Fights' book is a must-read for Natives (4/28)
Whiteclay liquor stores must close temporarily amid court battle (4/28)
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
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.