your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Democrats force a delay in vote on President Trump's tribal jurisdiction foe

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: 115th, amy klobuchar, borders, chuck grassley, dana boente, democrats, doj, donald trump, hhs, ihs, immigration, jeff sessions, john hoeven, jurisdiction, patrick leahy, religion, republicans, sally quillian yates, scia, senate, steven mnuchin, tom price, tom udall, treasury, tribal courts, vawa, women

Indigenous women participate in the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017. Photo: Emilee Guevara

Democrats are slowing efforts by Republicans to seat a tribal jurisdiction foe at the Department of Justice.

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary met on Tuesday morning with the goal of advancing Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) to be Attorney General of the United States. But a partisan debate over the actions of President Donald Trump kept the panel from moving forward with a vote.

Democrats repeatedly slammed Trump for imposing a ban on refugees from certain countries where people of the Muslim faith make up the majority of the population. The executive order, signed on Friday afternoon by the new president, ensnared tens of thousands of citizens of other nations, some of whom had prior legal approval to enter the U.S.

But Democrats also raised concerns about Sessions and his record on Indian issues. They noted that he opposes tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians even after he acknowledged that non-Indians contribute to extremely high rates of violence on tribal lands.

"How can anybody who is going to be in a position to enforce our laws turn their back on that, or suggest the law should apply to only certain classes of women?" said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), a former chairman of the committee.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) said she can't support Sessions due to his stance on the Violence Against Women Act. The 2013 update to the law recognizes the "inherent" authority of tribes to arrest, prosecute and sentence non-Indians who abuse their partners.

"I've had so many tribes in my state that have had trouble getting anyone to prosecute their cases, and we simply allowed for dual jurisdiction when someone committed an act of violence that wasn't a member of the tribe," Klobuchar said. "That didn't make sense to me."

Sessions further sowed doubts when refused to repudiate his position on the matter. During his confirmation hearing earlier this month, he left open the possibility that the Department of Justice, under his leadership, might not support the landmark tribal provisions of VAWA.

"I would have to make a legal decision on that," Sessions said on January 10. "I'm not able to do so today."

Whether Sessions will uphold VAWA, or other federal laws, has come under intense focus in light of Trump's controversial directives. In addition to the refugee order, the new occupant of the Oval Office has called for the "immediate" construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border but did not include tribes in discussions. He also failed to treat tribes as partners in public safety initiatives even though many have sought more resources to combat human trafficking and drug trafficking activities tied to the border.

And whether Sessions can remain independent of Trump is a big issue. Sally Quillian Yates, an Obama administration holdover who was serving as acting attorney general, was fired on Monday night after she raised questions about the legality of the White House's refugee order and instructed federal prosecutors not to defend it.

"It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country," the White House said in a statement. Dana Boente, a federal prosecutor from Virginia, is now serving as the acting attorney general and he has agreed to defend the order.

Despite the furor, Republicans remain confident they will get Sessions confirmed. As he closed the business meeting that dragged on for hours, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary panel, promised to call a vote on Wednesday morning.

"He explained that he’s enthusiastically prepared to set aside his role as legislator and adopt a new role as our chief law enforcement officer. And he told us he’ll execute that role with strength, integrity, and independence in order to provide equal justice for all," Grassley said of his colleague in his opening statement. "That’s precisely what we want from an Attorney General. Equal and fair application of the law."

Republicans control the Senate so it's unlikely that Democrats can keep Sessions, or any other Trump pick, from joining the Cabinet. Still, they are doing their best to delay the process -- boycotts of committee meetings on Tuesday prevented votes on Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) to lead the Department of Health and Human Service, which includes the Indian Health Service, and on Steven T. Mnuchin to run the Department of the Treasury, which was a defendant in the Cobell trust fund lawsuit.

But in some corners of Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats were doing their best to display a united front. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held its first meeting of the 115th Congress on Tuesday morning as its new leaders vowed to work on tribal issues in a cooperative manner.

"I think this has always been a bipartisan committee," said Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), the new chairman.

"I really welcome the bipartisanship," said Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), the new vice chairman.

Related Stories:
Delay in #NoDAPL response points to more changes with President Trump in office (01/27)
President Trump signals change in handling of #NoDAPL litigation (01/24)
Donald Trump's Justice choice leaves door open to fight tribal jurisdiction (01/11)
Donald Trump's Justice pick opposed tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians (01/10)
Confirmation hearings open for first of Donald Trump's nominees (01/10)
Native Sun News Today Editorial: A bumpy ride with Donald Trump (12/08)

Copyright © 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:
Indigenous activists reclaim nation's capital in defiance of Trump (4/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ends appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit (4/28)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (4/28)
Senate panel takes up bill to bring AMBER Alert funding to tribes (4/28)
Gun Lake Tribe prepares for grand opening of casino expansion (4/28)
Arne Vainio: We lost a fluent Ojibwe speaker in Larry Smallwood (4/28)
Native Sun News Today: Runners from Standing Rock head to Ohio (4/28)
James Giago Davies: People tell me it's better to read about pets (4/28)
Harold Monteau: Supreme Court stirs smelly pot of fish head stew (4/28)
Steven Newcomb: 'Picking Fights' book is a must-read for Natives (4/28)
Whiteclay liquor stores must close temporarily amid court battle (4/28)
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
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.