your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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 -
American Federation of Government Employees -

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:
Native Sun News: Director of Native Healing Program recognized (10/13)
Lakota Country Times: Democrats support change for sacred site (10/13)
Editorial: Another loss for Washington NFL team's racist mascot (10/13)
Navajo Nation hails movement on controversial Indian energy bill (10/12)
Supreme Court schedules oral arguments in two Indian law cases (10/12)
Another $118K in grants awarded through Seeds of Native Health (10/12)
Native Sun News: Tribal college students off to indigenous games (10/12)
Lakota Country Times: FEMA trailers headed to Oglala Sioux Tribe (10/12)
Mark Trahant: Chaos in Congress impacts Indian Country's future (10/12)
James Giago Davies: Reaching hearts and minds of Lakota people (10/12)
Bayard Johnson: Columbus invented the protocol of colonization (10/12)
Valerie Strauss: From Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day (10/12)
Former chair of Crow Tribe launches cannabis development firm (10/12)
Alaska Federation of Natives draws big crowd to annual meeting (10/12)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe evacuates community amid two fires (10/12)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe caught in middle of child custody case (10/12)
Murder charges laid for deaths of Indian man and Indian woman (10/12)
California governor signs bill to outlaw racist mascot in schools (10/12)
Review: 'Dark Reservations' offers a political and legal mystery (10/12)
New Eastern Cherokee chief fires director of gaming commission (10/12)
Tohono O'odham Nation faces counterclaims in casino litigation (10/12)
Little Traverse Bay Bands want to break ground soon on casino (10/12)
Tribes in Connecticut report increases in slot machine revenues (10/12)
Cowlitz Tribe already in debt $485M for long-delayed casino bid (10/12)
Republicans push controversial Indian energy bill through House (10/9)
Navajo Nation leaders headed to campus following fatal shooting (10/9)
Native Sun News: South Dakota community honors Code Talkers (10/9)
Lakota Country Times: Native Americans arrested at high rates (10/9)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota immersion remains our only hope (10/9)
Steve Russell: Indian people stuck with the laws of colonizers (10/9)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native people play key role in politics (10/9)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Trading tribal sovereignty for marijuana (10/9)
Studio denies theft of tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/9)
Omaha Tribe hosts basketball stars Shoni and Jude Schimmel (10/9)
Winnebago Tribe chooses eight in special election for council (10/9)
Students from Salish Kootenai College send satellite to space (10/9)
Pamunkey Tribe sees challenge to federal recognition decision (10/9)
Six indicted for stealing funds from Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (10/9)
Kris Lane: Columbus was clearly not a friend to Native peoples (10/9)
Researchers adapt Korean alphabet for use in Native language (10/9)
Excavation at Indian city uncovers numerous signs of conflict (10/9)
Thomas St. Dennis: Don't let rival tribe stop Little River casino (10/9)
Viejas Band opens new gaming floor and hotel with expansion (10/9)
White Earth Nation plans hotel and RV park at third casino site (10/9)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe to debut expansion of casino in 2016 (10/9)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe adds competition to casino scene (10/9)
White House blasts Native American Energy Act ahead of vote (10/8)
House Natural Resources Committee approves two Indian bills (10/8)
First Nations Development Institute awards $250K for ranching (10/8)
Four Native chefs participate in unique food event in New Mexico (10/8)
Native Sun News: Lone Indian voice opposes mountain lion hunt (10/8)
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.