indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Tribal jurisdiction faces test before Supreme Court
THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2003

The Bush administration is appealing a case to the Supreme Court that tribal leaders say is an important test of their sovereign rights.

In March, a divided panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that tribes in five Plains states lack inherent authority over non-members. The 7-4 ruling struck down dual tribal and federal prosecution of an Indian man convicted by the Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota.

The majority said the tribe's criminal jurisdiction stemmed from Congress -- not its own sovereignty -- thereby violating the U.S. Constitution's ban on double jeopardy "The Spirit Lake Nation exercises authority over external relations only to the extent that such a power has been delegated to it by Congress," Judge Roger L. Wollman wrote.

The ruling is in direct conflict with holdings in two other circuits, making the dispute ripe for resolution by the nation's highest court. In fact, that is what the 8th Circuit majority suggested on March 24.

"We conclude that the distinction between a tribe's inherent and delegated powers is of constitutional magnitude and therefore is a matter ultimately entrusted to the Supreme Court," the court stated.

The issue is significant one for tribes nationwide due to the Supreme Court's decision in Duro v. Reina. The 1990 case, decided by a 7-2 vote, held that tribal governments only have criminal jurisdiction over their own members.

Congress responded the following year by enacting what is known as the "Duro fix," which was legislation that recognized inherent tribal sovereignty. The 9th Circuit, in June 2001, and the 7th Circuit, in March of this year, upheld the underpinnings of the statute, agreeing that tribes possess criminal jurisdiction over all American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Through the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative, a joint venture of the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund, tribes are weighing their response. The case was discussed at NCAI's mid-year session two weeks ago and will be the subject of another meeting July 22-24 in Portland, Oregon.

With Bush administration backing, the case could prove a win for tribal rights in an era where the Supreme Court has been overwhelmingly negative. Tribes have lost 80 percent of cases in the last 20 years.

The issue is also significant in light of a tribal push to have Congress recognize their authority over non-Indians through homeland security legislation. A hearing on S.578, introduced by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), will be held July 30 before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Solicitor General Ted Olson, who handles Supreme Court litigation for the Bush administration, moved to appeal the case on June 12. The Department of Justice is being given extra time to file a petition for writ of certiorari, due by July 22.

The 8th Circuit ruling in U.S. v. Lara, No. 01-3695, covers tribes in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.

The 7th Circuit case is U.S. v. Long, No. 02-1473. The circuit covers tribes in Wisconsin. It applied to the Menominee Nation, whose federal status was terminated, and later restored, by Congress. The court drew no distinction in affirming the tribe's sovereignty.

The 9th Circuit case, U.S. v. Enas, No. 99-10049, drew the attention of American Indian Movement activist Russell Means. In order to avoid prosecution by the Navajo Nation for a domestic violence-related dispute, he contends that tribes lack jurisdiction over non-tribal members.

Means' attorney, John Trebon, participated in oral arguments in the Enas case. The Supreme Court let the decision stand in January 2002.

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet: No. 02A1059 (Supreme Court) | Tribal Government Amendments to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (S.578)

Get the Decision:
8th Circuit: U.S. v. Lara (en banc) (March 24, 2003) | U.S. v. Lara (panel) (June 20, 2002)

Related Decision:
7th Circuit: U.S. v. Long (March 20, 2003) | 9th Circuit: U.S. v. Enas (June 29, 2001)

Related Stories:
Court rulings on tribal jurisdiction are in conflict (04/16)
Inouye ties sovereignty to homeland security (02/25)
Tribes seek to overturn Supreme Court (2/27)
Native man denied by Supreme Court (01/22)
Court upholds dual tribal, federal prosecutions (7/2)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: A ride-along with a South Dakota county sheriff (4/17)
Lakota Country Times: Sen. Tester pushes for tribal college funds (4/17)
Native Sun News: Walk hits uranium mining sites on reservations (4/17)
Brandon Ecoffey: Vincent Brewer was a family man and a cowboy (4/17)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restoring our sacred peak to its original name (4/17)
Clara Caufield: A faithful servant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe (4/17)
Steve Russell: Shocking students with the truth about US history (4/17)
Sunnie Clahchischiligi: Get on board with Ho-Chunk Nation player (4/17)
Navajo Nation candidates enter final stretch of bumpy campaign (4/17)
Man from Tulalip Tribes enters not guilty plea to firearms charge (4/17)
Colorado lawmaker continues tradition of bolo ties on Capitol Hill (4/17)
Editorial: End discrimination against Native Americans in Michigan (4/17)
Editorial: Virginia's tribes need federal recognition from Congress (4/17)
Indiana lawmakers not so welcoming to Pokagon Band casino bid (4/17)
Arizona agency threatens to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/17)
Kansas seeks injunction to stop Quapaw Tribe gaming expansion (4/17)
Mohegan Tribe's casino enterprise named one of best employers (4/17)
Native Sun News: Senate field hearing focuses on tribes and coal (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Program brings healthy food to Pine Ridge (4/16)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Death rituals among the Mohawk people (4/16)
James Giago Davies: Just another crazy breed Lakota in the IHS (4/16)
Karin Eagle: UNITY media summit draws people to reservation (4/16)
Walt Lamar: Addicts in Indian Country turning to spiked heroin (4/16)
Congress passes renewal of Indian Country diabetes program (4/16)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up tribal labor measure (4/16)
Sen. Barrasso highlights 100 days of work on Indian legislation (4/16)
Alaska to make changes to Indian Child Welfare Act procedures (4/16)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe council meeting ends in shouting match (4/16)
Manitoba agrees to pay funeral bill for murdered Native woman (4/16)
New York City approves marker where Indian slaves were sold (4/16)
President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe removed after ethics hearing (4/16)
Colorado House approves bill to restrict use of Indian mascots (4/16)
Lumbee Tribe remains in long quest to gain federal recognition (4/16)
Senate votes to confirm Jonodev Chaudhuri as leader of NIGC (4/16)
Letter raises legal issues for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (4/16)
Mohegan Tribe went to South Korea to discuss potential casino (4/16)
Quapaw Tribe faces opposition over possible casino in Arkansas (4/16)
Colville Tribes plan ceremonial debut of $68M casino next month (4/16)
Rincon Band contributes $9.5M to highway projects near casino (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux district endorses marijuana (4/15)
Native Sun News: Candidates to debate on tribal college campus (4/15)
Native Sun News: Former police chief runs for Rapid City mayor (4/15)
Mark Trahant: Millions of Native Americans wait on health care (4/15)
Dana Lone Elk: Francis Pumpkin Seed always had a bright smile (4/15)
Stephen Pevar: Tribes and families fight back with ICWA lawsuit (4/15)
Paul Moorehead: Tribes need greater control of their own lands (4/15)
Obama to visit city near Sisseton Wahpeton Reservation in May (4/15)
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes host honoring for Suzan Shown Harjo (4/15)
DOI issues $10.5M in offers on Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (4/15)
Navajo Nation signs buy-back cooperative agreement with DOI (4/15)
Indian arts organization seeks replacement for top executive (4/15)
National Park Service releases eight grants for NAGPRA efforts (4/15)
Bill introduced in Senate to support placing woman on $20 bill (4/15)
Judge Judy chooses reservation school for graduation speech (4/15)
Museum named after famed Pueblo woman artist closes doors (4/15)
Quick justice for assault of woman on Chitimacha Reservation (4/15)
WBUR: Reporter discusses youth suicide in Oglala Sioux Tribe (4/15)
Editorial: Agua Caliente Band can help ease tensions over land (4/15)
BIA hears from public on Pokagon Band gaming plan in Indiana (4/15)
Fond du Lac Band spars with city over services for urban casino (4/15)
Seminole Tribe faces complaints over business deals at casino (4/15)
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.