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
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Supreme Court rejects appeal of Native preference case
Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to enter a debate over government contracting preferences for American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses.

Without comment, the justices rejected an appeal sought by the largest federal employee union. The American Federation of Government Employees, which claims a membership of 600,000, said the contracting set-asides violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on race-based preferences.

But in rejecting the case, the Supreme Court let stand a ruling that upheld language in the 2000 Department of Defense appropriations act. The provision, inserted by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, allows federal officials to award contracts to majority Native-owned firms without going through a competitive bidding process that non-Native businesses are subjected to.

"The Native American exception," Stevens said in June 2000, "is intended to advance the federal government's interest in promoting self-sufficiency and the economic development of Native American communities. It does so not on the basis of race, but rather, based upon the unique political and legal status that the aboriginal, indigenous, Native people of ... America have had under our Constitution since the founding of this nation."

In June of this year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Stevens' reasoning. In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel said Supreme Court precedents ensure that Congress can enact legislation that treats American Indians and Alaska Natives differently.

"The [Supreme] Court's decisions 'leave no doubt that federal legislation with respect to Indian tribes, although relating to Indians as such, is not based on impermissible racial classifications,'" wrote Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush.

The Department of Justice had urged the high court to reject the union's appeal. "Unlike other individuals or entities, Indian tribes -- political units -- have a 'unique legal status' under the Constitution as domestic sovereign nations," Solicitor General Ted Olson wrote in a brief last month.

"Consequently, where Congress singles out interactions with the tribes for differential regulation, the distinction is political rather than racial and must be upheld so long as it is rationally designed to further Indian self-goverance," he added.

The case revolved around a $170 million military contract for Chugach Management Services -- a joint venture of Chugach Alaska Corporation, a regional Alaska Native corporation, and Afognak Village Corporation, a village corporation. The Air Force awarded the contract, for maintenance work at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, pursuant to the 2000 act.

The contract was just one of several that have put large military-related projects in the hands of Native businesses. In December 2001, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, a DoD agency, awarded a $2.2 billion, non-competitive contract to two Alaska Native corporations. It is considered the largest outsource to a Native-owned company.

But Alaska Native firms have been able to secure military work through competitive bidding as well. Last year, a Chugach subsidiary won a $2.5 billion contract -- to be shared with two partners -- for public works, engineering, aviation and marine-support services at a missile testing facility in the South Pacific.

In May, another Chugach firm won a $3.3 million non-military contract to take over maintenance and operations at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, also in the Pacific.

The Chugach corporation, owned by about 2,000 shareholders, emerged from bankruptcy three years ago. It has since been named one of the top 49 businesses in Alaska.

Department of Justice Brief:
AFGE v. U.S (November 10, 2003)

Get the Decision:
Amer Fed Govt Empl vs. USA (June 6, 2003)

Lower Court Decision:
Amer Fed Govt Empl vs. USA (March 29, 2002)

Relevant Documents:
Kirtland Litigation Briefs and Other Information (AFGE)

Relevant Links:
Chugach Alaska - http://www.chugach-ak.com
American Federation of Government Employees - http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm

Related Stories:
Court rejects union claim against Native contract (06/09)
Native corp close to $2.5B contract (09/09)
Alaska Native deal criticized (6/14)
Native Corp. survives bankruptcy (5/30)

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:
Muscogee Nation activist dangled from bridge to stop oil ship (7/31)
Native Sun News: Rapid City mayor denies claim of retaliation (7/31)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Rapid City mayor's year of retaliation (7/31)
Brandon Ecoffey: Rapid City continues with tradition of racism (7/31)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe leaves people in dark (7/31)
Lakota Country Times: Group seeks to boost Pine Ridge tourism (7/31)
Federal murder charges laid for shooting on Crow Reservation (7/31)
Alex White Plume asks court for permission to plant hemp crop (7/31)
Isleta Pueblo welcomes Secretary Sally Jewell for school event (7/31)
Tribes caught off-guard with mandate from Affordable Care Act (7/31)
Commerce Blog: Secretary Pritzker meets with tribes and youth (7/31)
Tribes in Pacific Northwest 'very worried' about future of salmon (7/31)
Alaska to recognize tribal domestic violence protection orders (7/31)
Moapa Band enters $4.3M settlement for power plant pollution (7/31)
Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Indian Affairs holds first meeting (7/31)
Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes (7/31)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe sees big future with Class II casino (7/31)
Catawba Nation still waiting for answer on casino land-into-trust (7/31)
Last defendant sentenced in theft case at Yakama Nation casino (7/31)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee delays vote on land-into-trust (7/30)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (7/30)
Former workers at Choctaw Nation casino plead guilty to theft (7/30)
Inmate charged with murdering Mississippi Choctaw man in jail (7/30)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline protest draws big crowd (7/30)
James Giago Davies: Don't judge anyone's depth of Lakotaness (7/30)
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (7/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Native mother left to die in a jail cell (7/30)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Native issues you aren't hearing about (7/30)
Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis (7/30)
Suspect in custody over deadly shooting on Crow Reservation (7/30)
Shooting highlights racial tensions on Wind River Reservation (7/30)
Pueblo man goes on trial for brutal murder of Navajo woman (7/30)
Another sentence in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption scandal (7/30)
Oglala Sioux Tribe on track to complete $16.5M nursing home (7/30)
Quapaw Tribe hosts relatives for annual language conference (7/30)
Former police chief for Swinomish Tribe pleads guilty to theft (7/30)
Winnebago Tribe seeks more time to remove old bank building (7/30)
Opinion: Eastern Cherokee leaders kick reporter out of meeting (7/30)
Indian family in Washington still pursuing casino on trust land (7/30)
Red Lake Nation leader supports sales of liquor at two casinos (7/30)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in profit from casino enterprise (7/30)
Sen. Barrasso introduces another version of land-into-trust fix (7/29)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe adopts banishment for drug dealers (7/29)
Native Sun News: Rapid City trial ends with no defense witnesses (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Youth come to Pine Ridge for 'Exposures' (7/29)
Charles Trimble: Being mixed-race Indian and being proud of it (7/29)
Ivan Star: It's up to all of us to keep the Lakota language alive (7/29)
Congress fails to provide funds to help tribes comply with VAWA (7/29)
Suit alleges tribal leaders received kickbacks from lobbying firm (7/29)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe claims DOJ support for marijuana (7/29)
Community on Crow Reservation on lockdown due to shooting (7/29)
Former Chippewa Cree Tribe chair sentenced in corruption case (7/29)
Hillary Clinton refuses to answer questions about Keystone XL (7/29)
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.