Home > News > More Headlines > Showdown looms in tribal sovereignty case
Printer friendly version
Showdown looms in tribal sovereignty case
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2003

The Bush administration is asking the Supreme Court to limit the reach of state jurisdiction in a case that could expand police powers over tribal governments.

In an amicus brief, the Department of Justice urged the court to reject an appeal by a California county whose officials used boltcutters to seize records belonging to the Bishop Paiute Tribe. Solicitor General Ted Olson and other government attorneys said the action was unwarranted.

"The tribes' sovereignty, while subordinate to the sovereignty of the United States, is not subordinate to that of the state," Olson wrote in the January 23 filing.

Standing on the opposite side of the federal government are a host of state and local law enforcement groups. Ten state attorneys general, the National Sheriffs' Association, the California State Sheriffs' Association and the Los Angeles Country district attorney have filed briefs, arguing that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the tribe, created a loophole by declaring the seizure illegal.

"Not only would the tribe's claimed sovereign power to bar the execution of a state warrant allow criminals to operate untouched when cloaked by an official designation of tribal governmental status, but criminals anywhere within Indian country would benefit if the law enforcement community became unwilling to enter Indian country for fear of the personal liability that might attach to an inadvertent incursion upon the land or property of the tribal government," the states wrote.

"The geographical scope of this specter is substantial."

With oral arguments slated to take place next month, the case is drawing attention as a sequel to Nevada v. Hicks case, widely viewed in Indian Country as a blow to tribal rights. The Supreme Court in 2001 said state police powers apply to individuals who live on reservations.

"State sovereignty does not end at a reservation's border," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority.

The tribe and the Bush administration attempt to draw a distinction between Hicks and the current dispute. They argue that states have never possessed power over tribal governments. In this case, the records were seized from the tribe's casino, considered an "arm" of the tribe.

Where the two differ is whether the tribe has a right to sue Inyo County for the apparent breach. The Department of Justice says no while the tribe disagrees.

So far, no tribes or tribal organizations have submitted briefs in the case, although it was discussed at the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) conference earlier this month and will be raised next week at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). NCAI President Tex Hall and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. are heading a tribal initiative aimed at protecting tribal rights.

Oral arguments are scheduled for March 31.

Briefs:
Bishop Paiute Tribe | Inyo County | United States | State Attorney Generals | National Sheriff's Association | Los Angeles County

Decision Below:
BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBE v. COUNTY OF INYO No. 01-15007 (January 4, 2002)

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet: No. 02-281 | Senate Testimony: Monty Bengochia on Supreme Court Precedents

Related Stories:
S.D. tribe to accept state subpoenas (2/19)
S.D. puts pressure on tribal sovereignty (2/12)
Supreme Court work at issue as judge debated (01/30)
State power over tribal government in dispute (12/03)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

Native Sun News: First Nations Sculpture Garden breaks ground (8/28)
Native Sun News: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe misses Cobell deadline (8/28)
James Giago Davies: There's trouble brewing on the racist horizon (8/28)
Simon Moya-Smith: A Republican slur on our indigenous relatives (8/28)
Kyle Mays: Connections between Creole and Native communities (8/28)
Mike Myers: Tribes deserve our own seats on international level (8/28)
Opinion: Supreme Court should pass on Jim Thorpe NAGPRA case (8/28)
Navajo Nation to reopen irrigation canal after Gold King mine spill (8/28)
Native executive wasn't surprised by 'No Natives please' rental ad (8/28)
Tribal members in Minnesota assert treaty right to gather wild rice (8/28)
County hopes to revive foreclosure lawsuit against Cayuga Nation (8/28)
Washington Supreme Court affirms legality of tribal gas compacts (8/28)
County sheriff questions authority of tribal officers in New Mexico (8/28)
Nooksack Tribe concerned about impact of slowly melting glaciers (8/28)
Supreme Court Justice Thomas favors conservative leaning briefs (8/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe prepares for decision on gaming plan (8/28)
San Manuel Band hires executive director for gaming commission (8/28)
Kumeyaay Nation still waiting to repatriate ancestors despite win (8/27)
IHS plans to expand service area for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (8/27)
Native Sun News: Health workers join together for race relations (8/27)
Ivan Star: Oglala Sioux government fails majority of our people (8/27)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump isn't the only crazy one in the race (8/27)
Harlan McKosato: Isleta Pueblo opposes city development plan (8/27)
Julianne Jennings: People of color must unite for justice or else (8/27)
Hillary Clinton campaign reaches out to tribal voters in Nevada (8/27)
EPA releases internal report into Gold King Mine spill disaster (8/27)
Southern Ute Tribe hosts top DOJ officials at crime conference (8/27)
Paper must ask to attend Eastern Cherokee council meetings (8/27)
Koi Nation praises charges against man accused of looting site (8/27)
Pokagon Band breaks ground on village with housing complex (8/27)
Tribes provide fire services on and off reservations in California (8/27)
Chumash Tribe signs new Class III casino compact in California (8/27)
Tohono O'odham Nation heading back in court in casino lawsuit (8/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community announces $100M casino expansion (8/27)
Lower Sioux Indian Community debuts $22M casino expansion (8/27)
Little Traverse Bay Bands plan new development at old casino (8/27)
Seminole Tribe wins major ruling in taxation dispute in Florida (8/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on EPA mine spill (8/26)
Indian Health Service to hold a second meeting for LGBT issues (8/26)
Obama picks for National Advisory Council on Indian Education (8/26)
Native Sun News: Lakota grandmother debuts film about uranium (8/26)
Native Sun News: Miss Crow Fair thanks family for strong support (8/26)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Beware of vicious and deadly gossip on rez (8/26)
Former Navajo Nation leaders blamed for lack of women's shelter (8/26)
Man charged with murder of Crow Tribe couple could face death (8/26)
Former executives charged with theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (8/26)
Northern Arapaho Tribe asks Obama to drop appeal in eagle case (8/26)
more headlines...

Advertisement

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.