Law

2nd Circuit won't rehear Stockbridge-Munsee land claim lawsuit






The seal of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to rehear the Stockbridge-Munsee Community land claim lawsuit.

The tribe, now based in Wisconsin, sued the state of New York to recover ancestral territory. A three-judge panel of the court, however, said the claim was too "disruptive."

"[I]t is now well‐established that Indian land claims asserted generations after an alleged dispossession are inherently disruptive of state and local governance and the settled expectations of current landowners, and are subject to dismissal on the basis of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility," the June 20 decision stated.

The tribe can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. But acceptance is highly unlikely -- the justices have declined to hear land claims from the Oneida Nation, the Cayuga Nation and Onondaga Nation.

“The court did not say that our claim was not valid, it just said, in effect, ‘Go away, we will not even hear your claim,‘" Stockbridge-Munsee President Wallace A. Miller said in the Mohican News after the 2nd Circuit's ruling in June. "The courthouse doors are closed to Indian claims that might disrupt the majority’s settled expectations, regardless of the historical injustice that may have occurred.’”

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Stockbridge-Munsee Community v. New York.

2nd Circuit Decision:
Stockbridge‐Munsee Community v. New York (June 20, 2014)

Related Stories:
Appeals court dismisses Stockbridge-Munsee Band's land claim (06/20)
Stockbridge-Munsee Community can't sue for New York lands (7/25)