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
Dynamic Homes
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...

Latest Headlines:

Native activists go viral with 'Redhawks' campaign aimed at NFL team's racist mascot
Minnesota governor passes over Native lawmaker with appointment to Senate seat
Doug George-Kanentiio: Onondaga Chief Chief Irv Powless was a legend and a friend
Navajo Nation accusses Wells Fargo Bank of exploiting tribal citizens in new lawsuit
Havasupai Tribe sees mixed victory in litigation to protect Grand Canyon from uranium
Democrat Doug Jones claims win in Senate race roiled by sexual misconduct scandal
Former Shinnecock Nation official sentenced for cybercrime that derailed casino plan
Major changes in store as trust reform office returns home to Bureau of Indian Affairs
Trump team reinstates delay for land-into-trust applications without consulting tribes
Choctaw Nation citizen taking oath of office as top federal prosecutor in Oklahoma
Albert Bender: Wisconsin police kill 14-year-old indigenous boy on his own homeland
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation takes the lead in embracing green energy solutions
Native Sun News Today: Family raises awareness after Lakota man dies in Rapid City
David Ganje: South Dakota must do more to protect ground water and surface water
Indian Child Welfare Act under attack again as conservative group submits appeal
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community secures federal permit to manufacture tobacco
Soboba Band on track to finish fast-rising replacement gaming facility next summer
Supreme Court shakes up docket by accepting sovereignty case at request of tribe
Supreme Court brings good news to Quapaw Tribe in restoration of homelands case
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe in limbo as Supreme Court delays sovereignty dispute
House committee schedules markup on Alaska Native health and Oregon tribal bills
Mark Trahant: Minnesota could make history with first Native woman in Congress
Dean Parisian: The answers to problems at Pine Ridge must come from Pine Ridge
Native Sun News Today: Tribes promise 'war' over gold mining in sacred Black Hills
Native Sun News Today Review: Book looks into heritage of activist Russell Means
Cronkite News: Republican resigns immediately after details of misconduct surface
YES! Magazine: Tribes lead battles against big oil projects in the Pacific Northwest
Gun Lake Tribe surpasses $100 million mark in gaming revenues shared in Michigan
Omaha Tribe fires back after being accused of mismanaging federal disaster funds
Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan launches historic campaign for governor of Idaho
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe joins heated debate over drug patents
YES! Magazine: President Trump's shrinking of Bears Ears won't survive in courts
James Giago Davies: You can't break from the past until you admit you're stuck
Federal jury returns guilty verdict for brutal murder of woman on Crow Reservation
Eastern Cherokees cheer high school football team at state championship game
Secretary Zinke defends use of government helicopters for trips near Washington
Lawmakers with connections to Indian Country resign due to sexual harassment
Congress passes bill to avert shutdown of federal agencies for another two weeks
Montaukett Indian Nation denied a second time as governor vetoes recognition bill
Leech Lake Band breaks ground on replacement casino with help from fellow tribe
Tohono O'odham Nation celebrates start of work on $400 million permanent casino
Trump administration throws up hurdles for first new tribal water rights settlements
Navajo Nation leaders offer condolences after three students die in school shooting
Tribal employment measure officially presented to President Trump for his signature
Senate committee approves bill to fund victim services programs in Indian Country
Native punk rock band Sihasin 'excited' after being featured in new car commercial
Kirsten Matoy Carlson: Trump team actually does something right for tribal lands
Blackfeet Nation seeks co-management of area under consideration as monument
Chickasaw Nation gaming revenues hit $1.44 billion as enterprise keeps growing
Tribes turn tables on non-Indian company intent on derailing new gaming facility
Ponca Tribe prepares for brighter future with plans for $26 million health center
Grand jury seeks another charge against officer accused in Native man's death
Jacqueline Keeler: Trump again uses Navajo elders as props for his political gain
Native Sun News Today: New Lakota basketball journey begins at Cheyenne River
Cronkite News: Supreme Court grapples with case of cake and same-sex couple
Omaha Tribe 'mismanaged' nearly $14 million in funds after disastrous flooding
Nooksack Tribe plans to revive disenrollment campaign despite many warnings
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe selects Ronald Ekdahl for chief as council takes office
Chilkat Indian Village sues to protect salmon runs from mining project in Alaska
Chief of police for Kalispel Tribe charged with domestic violence in Washington
Prairie Island Indian Community cuts ribbon for $86 million expansion at casino
Morongo Band accused of treating casino employees unfairly amid labor dispute
>>> 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.