indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Supreme Court nominee fares well in review of Indian law record

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: 10th circuit, 115th, donald trump, immunity, judiciary, narf, neal katyal, neil gorsuch, senate, sovereignty, supreme court, thomas fredericks
     
   

John EchoHawk, the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, offers an update on the U.S. Supreme Court at the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., on February 14, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Tribes and their advocates have already praised U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and a new analysis reveals the strength of his Indian law experience.

During a decade on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch participated in at least 39 Indian Country cases, according to a comprehensive review conducted by the Native American Rights Fund. He wrote 17 opinions in those cases, a record that appears to be unprecedented.

"Judge Gorsuch has significantly more experience with Indian law cases than any other recent Supreme Court nominee," the non-profit wrote in a memo to tribal leaders and lawyers on Thursday.

Of the 39 cases, NARF identified 28 as dealing with significant Indian law questions, ranging from sovereign immunity to tribal jurisdiction to the federal trust responsibility. Tribal interests won 16 of those cases, representing a win rate of 57 percent.

While that rate may not appear impressive, it's far better than that of the late Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch would be replacing on the nation's highest court. Scalia went against tribal interests in nearly every case and his passing in February 2016 is giving hope that a new era might be emerging in Washington, D.C.

"When compared to Justice Scalia’s Indian law record, the conclusion drawn is that Indian tribes will likely have a better chance on their cases with Gorsuch on the court," NARF wrote in its analysis.

Gorsuch's record will be on display as he goes before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for his confirmation hearing on Monday. In fact, he is being introduced a familiar face in Indian law circles -- Neal Katyal, a former Obama administration official who represents tribes as part of his and argued a sovereign immunity case at the Supreme Court in January.

While Gorsuch won't be ruling on Lewis v. Clarke, he is well-versed in the underlying issue in the case. According to NARF's review, he sided with tribes in 5 out of 6 immunity cases, representing an extremely stunning win rate for Indian Country.


President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and his wife, Marie Louise Gorsuch, at the White House on January 31, 2017. Photo: POTUS

Although it's impossible to predict how Gorsuch would handle similar cases if he is confirmed, other tribal advocates believe his record provides clarity. Thomas W. Fredericks, a prominent attorney from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation whose law firm has appeared before the nominee four times in the past two years, said Gorsuch brings a unique and welcome perspective to the bench.

"Our other observation is that, unlike most justices for the past century, Judge Gorsuch has knowledge gained from living in and working in a circuit which has Indian Country and strong tribal governments," Fredericks wrote in a letter on Thursday to the Judiciary committee.

The 10th Circuit covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming -- all states with significant tribal populations. Gorsuch is from Colorado and would be among just a handful of Westerners to serve on the Supreme Court in the last couple of decades.

"At least with Judge Gorsuch, I believe that tribes will receive fair consideration and respect," Fredericks wrote.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gorsuch would finally bring the Supreme Court back to its full slate of nine justices. The court has been operating with just eight members following Scalia's death last year.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch on January 31, less than two weeks after taking office.

Native American Rights Fund Documents:
The Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States – An Indian Law Perspective | Neil Gorsuch: Summary of Indian Law Cases

Senate Committee on the Judiciary Notice:
Nomination of the Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (March 20, 2017)

Related Stories:
Trump administration given more time for appeal in tribal gaming case (03/17)
Trump administration backs Cowlitz Tribe in Supreme Court brief (03/07)
Supreme Court turns down another tribal disenrollment dispute (02/27)
Tribes find common ground with Donald Trump on Supreme Court nominee (02/17)
Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee well versed in Indian law (2/1)
Trump team gets more time on Supreme Court tribal casino case (1/31)
Trump ready to announce nominee for Supreme Court vacancy (1/30)
Supreme Court declines petition in Indian Child Welfare Act case (01/09)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Family from Crow Tribe wins right to pursue lawsuit against federal agent
Mark Trahant: Republican health care reform bill impacts Indian Country
Steve Russell: Republican answer to Obamacare only benefits the wealthy
Hualapai Tribe learns more about citizen who was killed on duty in Vietnam
Zia Pueblo wants symbol removed from flag of city in far-away Wisconsin
Northern Cheyenne Tribe won't touch coal deposit despite economic woes
Life-saving road for Native village inches forward in Alaska and in D.C.
Two more Pueblo tribes challenge state's demand for gaming revenue
Wilton Rancheria won't comment on status of gaming compact talks
Trump administration rolls out first rule under historic trust reform law
Interior Department sends out another $13.1M in Cobell buy-back offers
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs headed to New Mexico for hearing
House committee again leaves out Indian Country in hearing on Interior
Mark Maxey: Oklahoma tries to crush Native protesters with new law
Carletta Tilousi: Havasupai Tribe threatened by uranium development
Opinion: Don't be fooled by Jimmie Durham's claims of Cherokee heritage
Opinion: Economic development for Indian Country in upcoming farm bill
Government worker suspended after calling Native principal a 'rabid s----'
Kiowa citizen Tristan Ahtone to report on tribes for High Country News
New York Times features Dina Gilio-Whitaker in editorial on health care
Tribes break ground on monument to their history in Virginia's capitol
Warm Springs Tribes battle large wildfire that broke out behind casino
Spokane Tribe casino doesn't bother Air Force despite claims in lawsuit
Tribes in for long haul as oil continues to flow through Dakota Access
Mark Trahant: Don't plan on getting sick if you're from Indian Country
Tiffany Midge: I shall joke as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow
Director of Office of Indian Energy deletes offensive Twitter account
States cheer decision on grizzly bears amid tribal concerns about hunts
Washington asks high court to overturn Yakama Nation treaty victory
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks
Colville Tribes remove council member a week before citizens go to polls
Marijuana firm promises big investments with help of ex-Seminole chair
Lumbee Tribe ordered to release voter list to opponents of chairman
National Indian Gaming Association chooses David Bean as vice chair
Eastern Cherokee citizen promoted to vice president of casino marketing
Tribes in Connecticut waiting on governor to sign bill for new casino
Secretary Zinke removes protections for grizzlies over tribal objections
Court sets final deadline for remaining payments from Cobell settlement
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act strengthens our families
Peter d'Errico: Navajo authors offer fresh perspective on sovereignty
Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe challenges new permit for uranium operation
Montana tribes get new member of Congress who pleaded to assault
Connecticut tribes welcome court decision favoring new casino law
Pueblo tribes dispute state's demand for $40M in gaming revenues
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe remains confident of approval of casino
Nooksack Tribe accepting slot tickets while casino remains closed
Key House committee under fire for moving slowly on tribal agenda
Tribes go it alone on climate change as Trump team shifts priorities
Bryan Newland: President Trump's budget threatens tribal treaties
Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better
Harold Monteau: Democrats lack proactive agenda, proactive strategy
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe orders 20 non-citizens to leave reservation
Wilton Rancheria accused of working too closely with city on casino
Witness list for hearing on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Arne Vainio: What does the princess want to be when she grows up?
Doug George-Kanentiio: 'Spirit Game' brings Iroquois lacrosse to life
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot
Eric Hannel: Addressing the health care crisis among Native Americans
Bill for tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies advances in California
>>> 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.