10th Circuit backs Muscogee Nation sovereignty

The Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma can't be sued over a tribal court proceeding, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday.

The tribe seized the vehicle and cash of a man who was suspected of possessing illegal drugs. But Russell Miner, who had parked his car at one of the tribe's casinos, said the tribe lacked authority over him as a non-Indian.

A federal judge sided with Miner and said the tribe had to return Miner's property. But on appeal, the 10th Circuit said the case should be dismissed because the tribe never waived its sovereign immunity.

"We conclude that, in the absence of congressional abrogation of tribal sovereign immunity from suit in this action, or an express waiver of its sovereign immunity by the Nation, the district court erred in failing to grant the Nation's motion to dismiss," Judge Bobby Ray Baldock wrote for the majority.

Get the Story:
Tribe had right to seize car, court says (The Journal Record 9/21)
Appeals Court Rules Indian Tribes May Seize Cars (theNewspaper.Com 9/21)

Court Decision:
Miner v. Muscogee Nation (September 19, 2007)

$rl Muscogee Nation -