your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 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 -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -

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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
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)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (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)
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.