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DC Circuit set to hear appeal in one Cherokee Freedmen lawsuit





The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments on October 18 in Vann v. Salazar, a Cherokee Freedmen case.

Marilyn Vann, the president of the Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes sued the Interior Department after the Cherokee Nation removed the Freedmen from the rolls. A federal judge later ruled that the tribe could be joined in the case and could be sued under the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery.

On appeal, the D.C. Circuit reversed in part. The court ruled that the tribe had not waived immunity under the Constitution or federal law.

The decision left open the possibility that tribal officials could be sued. However, a federal judge dismissed the case last September.

Vann and the other plaintiffs are now appealing to the D.C. Circuit. Turtle Talk posted the opening brief and the tribe recently filed a response.

Separately, another Freedmen lawsuit is proceeding in federal court in Oklahoma. The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to declare that the Freedmen retain citizenship in the tribe under an 1866 treaty.

Get the Story:
AG provides updates on Freedmen courts cases (The Cherokee Phoenix 7/30)

D.C. Circuit Decision:
Vann v. Kempthorne (July 29, 2008)

Related Stories:
Cherokee Freedmen lawsuit appears headed toward resolution (7/17)
Cherokee Nation awaits decision in Freedmen citizenship dispute (7/3)
Freedmen attorney claims Abramoff influenced BIA position (3/14)
Opinion: Tribes in Oklahoma struggle to deal with Freedmen (3/8)
Cherokee Nation won't drop lawsuit over Freedmen citizenship (11/29)