your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ 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...
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:
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
USDA policy eases return of traditional food to tribal facilities (11/24)
Sitka Tribe asks FBI to consider racial bias in student's arrest (11/24)
Court sides with Indian inmates over closure of sweat lodge (11/24)
Former employee accused of cheating Grand Traverse Band (11/24)
Tribes with special acts of Congress face hurdles for gaming (11/24)
Enterprise Rancheria addresses concerns about gaming site (11/24)
Mohegan Tribe signs partner for $5B casino proposal in Korea (11/24)
Bart Hinkle: States trying to protect their gaming monopolies (11/24)
Blackfeet Nation wins ruling against development at sacred site (11/23)
Center for Native American Youth hires new executive director (11/23)
Quinault Nation slams approval of genetically modified salmon (11/23)
Native Sun News: Great Plains people key in defeating Keystone (11/23)
Lakota Country Times: Legal 'victory' for reservation residents (11/23)
Chuck Trimble: Book shares truth about genocide of our people (11/23)
Mark Trahant: Who will be a Barack Obama for Indian Country? (11/23)
James Giago Davies: The greatest evil facing our communities (11/23)
Jay Daniels: Mascot opponents take aim at beloved 'Sooners' (11/23)
John Yellowbird Steele: Restore tribal sovereignty over labor (11/23)
Steve Russell: Just ask Indian people about wars over religion (11/23)
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.