indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Bush administration appealing trust fund case again
Monday, November 3, 2003

Creating another delay in the long-running debacle, the Bush administration has mounted a challenge to the latest rulings in the Indian trust fund lawsuit.

In a one-page notice filed on Wednesday, attorneys for Secretary of Interior Gale Norton announced their appeal of three decisions issued by a federal judge. This past September, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered an historical accounting of at least $13 billion in Indian funds and said he would appoint a judicial monitor to ensure the federal government is meeting its obligations to hundreds of thousands of American Indians.

The notice doesn't state on what grounds the decisions are being challenged. Norton's explanation will come once she files her opening brief.

But the appeal comes amid heightened scrutiny of the seven-year-old Cobell case. Members of Congress have been seeking ways to resolve the suit, although their approaches have highlighted deep divisions over how best to tackle a problem that is more than a century old.

Last Thursday, a group of lawmakers in the House nearly brought down a $20 billion budget bill over a provision aimed at overturning Lamberth's decisions. They argued that the rider, which was developed in secret, undermines Indian rights.

"The only way we can solve this problem is to sit down and consult, negotiate, and ultimately lead to a settlement," said Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over Indian issues.

The provision delays the accounting by one year and purports to dictate how federal law is to be interpreted by the courts. It is scheduled to go before the Senate later today.

At a hearing last Wednesday, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said he wasn't entirely satisfied with the way the rider was developed. But rather than seeking its removal, he said it gave the plaintiffs, the administration and tribal leaders one year to work out their differences.

"We have to find a solution or it's just simply going to be taken away from us," Campbell said.

Through his committee, Pombo is holding a series of hearings on the case, the latest of which is being held today in Arizona. He hopes to develop a legislative framework for settlement by keeping all parties involved.

Campbell and Sen. Inouye (D-Hawaii) have introduced a bill that would create a new bureaucracy to carry out the historical accounting. Both also back mediation of the case, an idea supported by the plaintiffs and tribal leaders.

Lawmakers who control the federal budget are intent on imposing their own solutions with no involvement of the key players. Unwilling to provide the funds to conduct the accounting or make other fixes, they have made no apologies for attempting to curtail the suit, which they say has cost millions at the expense of other Indian programs.

The Bush administration's appeal will delay proceedings in the case for up to a year, depending on the briefing schedule and the date of oral arguments. The appeal will be handled by the D.C. Circuit Court, which struck down contempt charges against Norton and former Indian affairs aide Neal McCaleb in July.

The same court, in February 2001, affirmed the federal government's duty to conduct an accounting of "all funds" within the Individual Indian Money (II) trust. At the Senate hearing last week, Jim Cason, the associate deputy Interior secretary, said the department still needed guidance on the meaning of the accounting.

Relevant Documents:
Notice of Appeal (October 29, 2003)

Court Decisions:
Historical Accounting | Fixing the System | Structural Injunction

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust

Related Stories:
House approves trust fund rider in DOI bill (10/31)
Campbell pushes action on trust fund suit (10/30)
Battle brews in House over DOI budget bill (10/30)
Cobell rallies support for trust fund case (10/28)
DOI bill halts Indian trust fund case (10/24)
Bill targets Indian trust fund suit (10/22)
House chairman supports self-governance rider (10/14)
Self-governance tribes fear impact of reorganization (10/09)
Lamberth lays out future of Indian trust reform (09/26)
Court report finds undervaluation of Navajo lands (08/21)
Administration eyes consolidation of Indian appraisals (08/15)
Tally for private attorney fees in Cobell case rises (07/24)
Congress hacks Bush's accounting funds (7/16)
Swimmer partly right on trust fund rider (7/14)
Bush official balks at large settlement for Cobell (7/10)
On trust, lawmakers take Bush officials at face value (06/25)
Private attorneys reap benefits on Cobell case (06/24)
Norton offered settlement funds for IIM trust (6/20)
Lamberth criticizes interference with trust fund case (05/22)
Bush administration turns to Congress on trust (04/04)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Ceremony welcomes return of spiritual beings (3/31)
Tribes and families in South Dakota win big victory in ICWA case (3/31)
Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma (3/31)
Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the Hoosier State (3/31)
Report puts tribal gaming industry revenues at $28.3B in 2013 (3/31)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe loses bid to force state into gaming deal (3/31)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to welcome visitors to reopened casino (3/31)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation contributes to economy with casino (3/31)
Everything you wanted to know about tribal gaming in Arizona (3/31)
Opinion: Connecticut tribes face challenges to gaming empire (3/31)
Native Sun News: Designation sought for Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murders of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
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.