your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ 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...
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:
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)
Supreme Court hands defeat to tribal interests in sovereignty case (4/25)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Gamesmanship' brings defeat in Supreme Court (4/25)
Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case (4/25)
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute team wins NASA prize (4/25)
Former top Bureau of Indian Affairs official joins Washington firm (4/25)
Native Sun News Today: Groups fight uranium mining in Black Hills (4/25)
Cronkite News: Budget deadline falls on Donald Trump's 100th day (4/25)
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act heals our families (4/25)
André Cramblit: Tribes must make language survival a top priority (4/25)
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.