indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Falmouth Institute Online Training
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe battles uranium mine (4/18)
Clara Caufield: BIA audits Northern Cheyenne police force (4/18)
10th Circuit affirms conviction for murder of Arapaho man (4/18)
Jay Daniels: Cobell settlement was flawed from beginning (4/18)
Dwanna Robertson: Muscogee Nation returns to homeland (4/18)
Peter d'Errico: Washington team makes colonial invasion (4/18)
Northern Arapaho Tribe receives $157M trust settlement (4/18)
Agua Caliente Band leaseholders seek $7M in tax refunds (4/18)
Oneida Nation sends $11M to county as part of settlement (4/18)
JPR: Klamath Tribes want Congress to approve water deal (4/18)
Judge dismisses Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe election suit (4/18)
ASU News: Navajo students enjoy learning their language (4/18)
Former NFL player jailed for DUI on Salt River Reservation (4/18)
BIA advances off-reservation casino projects in California (4/18)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe reportedly operating casino at net loss (4/18)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on new hotel with casino (4/18)
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes not planing to offer poker games (4/18)
Arizona tribes close to $1B mark in gaming revenue sharing (4/18)
Group opposes Catawba Nation casino bid in North Carolina (4/18)
Native Sun News: Guilty verdict in death of Lower Brule boy (4/17)
Native Sun News: Paper brings home four first place awards (4/17)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Governor carries on divisive tactics (4/17)
Navajo president criticizes NIGA for withdrawing from event (4/17)
Crystal Willcuts: NFL trickster speaks with a crooked tongue (4/17)
Opinion: NFL team owner flashes money to defend racial slur (4/17)
Ten reservations account for biggest share of Cobell buyback (4/17)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe opposes megaloads through reservation (4/17)
Indian artists seek more control over popular annual market (4/17)
Panel to look into death of pregnant Indian woman in Mexico (4/17)
Lynn Valbuena returns to chairman post at San Manuel Band (4/17)
Yale University museum accused of stealing Tlingit artifacts (4/17)
Navajo Nation Council speaker still on leave amid court fight (4/17)
BIA asked to invalidate Shinnecock Nation's new constitution (4/17)
Onondaga Nation is negotiations over tobacco taxation issue (4/17)
Sen. Warren addresses Native American controversy in book (4/17)
Race relations council looking to boost efforts in border town (4/17)
Opinion: Federal recognition for Virginia tribes long overdue (4/17)
Opinion: University must eventually eliminate Ute nickname (4/17)
Appeals court in Canada rules for Metis in Indian status caes (4/17)
9th Circuit hears dispute over Redding Rancheria gaming site (4/17)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe set to launch new poker games on May 2 (4/17)
Judge hears arguments in lawsuit against Jamul Band casino (4/17)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks qualify for Class III gaming in Florida (4/17)
Opinion: Gaming interests prepare for next attack on Florida (4/17)
Native Sun News: Little Shell Tribe gets closer to recognition (4/16)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge fighter prepares for next match (4/16)
Letter from Cobell attorneys on second settlement payment (4/16)
Cobell settlement administrator responds to payment delay (4/16)
Secretary Jewell to deliver commencement address at SIPI (4/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | 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.