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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Supreme Court case impacts homeland security proposal
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The Bush administration is urging the Supreme Court to affirm the inherent powers of tribal governments in a case with ramifications for homeland security legislation being debated this week.

The Department of Justice wants to overturn a decision that struck down dual tribal and federal prosecution of an American Indian man who committed a crime on a North Dakota reservation. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in March held that the Spirit Lake Nation lacked jurisdiction over him because he was a member of another tribe.

In a July 22 brief, government attorneys argue that the ruling conflicts with the 9th Circuit, which affirmed tribal jurisdiction over all American Indians. Unless the Supreme Court steps in and reconciles the decisions, "law enforcement in Indian Country will be significantly undermined," Solicitor General Ted Olson wrote.

At issue is legislation enacted in 1991 that recognizes the sovereign power of tribes to exercise criminal jurisdiction over "all Indians," regardless of membership. Commonly referred to as the "Duro fix," it was named after the Supreme Court's 1990 Duro v. Reina decision, which held that tribes, lacking Congressional or treaty support, have authority only over their own members.

The theory behind Duro fix is the same being applied to legislation that will be debated before a Senate committee tomorrow. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has introduced legislation that recognizes tribal sovereign powers over non-Indians.

Many tribal leaders support the bill, in the form of amendments to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, because it would counteract a series of negative Supreme Court decisions that have chipped away at their authority. They say it ensures that Indian Country is prepared for terrorist or biological attacks because tribal governments, as first responders, would have the same powers of local and state governments.

"The exclusion of tribal governments in implementation of a national homeland security strategy places both Indian and non-Indian populations at risk," said National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Tex Hall in a statement about the bill.

The Justice brief backs the underpinnings of the Duro fix, which was in the form of an amendment to the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) of 1968. "Nothing in the Constitution," Olson writes, "prevents Congress from prospectively redefining the scope of tribal sovereignty as it did in the ICRA amendment, to include the power to prosecute non-member Indians."

The 9th Circuit isn't the only court to recognize inherent tribal authority. In a decision this past March, the 7th Circuit upheld the criminal jurisdiction of the Menominee Nation, whose federal status was terminated, then later restored, by Congress.

The Supreme Court has given Billy Jo Lara, the defendant in the 8th Circuit case, until August 21 to reply to the Bush administration's petition for writ of certiorari. If accepted, the case would likely be heard next year.

Get the Brief:
Petition: U.S. v. Lara (July 22, 2003)

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet: No. 03-107 (Supreme Court) | Tribal Government Amendments to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (S.578)

Get the Decision:
8th Circuit: U.S. v. Lara (en banc) (March 24, 2003) | U.S. v. Lara (panel) (June 20, 2002)

Related Decision:
7th Circuit: U.S. v. Long (March 20, 2003) | 9th Circuit: U.S. v. Enas (June 29, 2001)

Related Stories:
Tribal jurisdiction faces test before Supreme Court (07/03)
Court rulings on tribal jurisdiction are in conflict (04/16)
Inouye ties sovereignty to homeland security (02/25)
Tribes seek to overturn Supreme Court (2/27)
Native man denied by Supreme Court (01/22)
Court upholds dual tribal, federal prosecutions (7/2)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
Terese Mailhot: We don't tell Native women how brilliant they really are
Indian Country cheers as judge orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Jacqueline Keeler: Connecting the Dakota Access Pipeline to history
Cronkite News: Tribes win decision in water rights dispute in Arizona
Secretary Zinke rejects complaints about consultation and Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting
Embattled Indian Health Service hospital losing top executive again
Connecticut tribes heap praise on senior Trump administration official
Gabe Galanda: Tribal 'membership' rules strip away at sovereignty
Swinomish Tribe still pursuing lawsuit against oil trains on reservation
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians unveil biking and hiking trail system
>>> 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.