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
John Berrey: Indian Country's best nominee for the Supreme Court

Filed Under: Law | Opinion | Politics
More on: 10th circuit, john berrey, neil gorsuch, quapaw, sovereignty, supreme court
     
   

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is one of a number of Democrats who plan to vote against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Photo: Senator Claire McCaskill

Democrats and Republicans are preparing for a big fight as they consider whether to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Amidst the squabbling, John Berrey, the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe, explains why the nominee's background bodes well for Indian Country:
From a tribal perspective, Judge Gorsuch’s personal profile and background are just as important as his impeccable education and legal career.

. . .

This, by, itself is important because as a westerner, Judge Gorsuch understands the importance of federal lands, water, energy and natural resources to Indian tribes and all communities in the west. Sitting on the Tenth Circuit, Judge Gorsuch’s geographical scope is large and covers the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming – these states alone include 76 Indian tribes.

During the hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Gorsuch was asked whether there was anything in his record suggesting he would not rule just for “big corporations” but would, in fact, support “the little guy.” Judge Gorsuch responded by citing three Indian law decisions he wrote which favored the tribal litigants. One of them, Ute Indian Tribe v. State of Utah (10th Cir. 2015), involved the unlawful prosecution of tribal members in state court for conduct on tribal lands. Judge Gorsuch’s decision stressed the need for federal protection of tribal sovereignty and stated that “…the harm to tribal sovereignty in this case is perhaps as serious as any to come our way in a long time.”

Another, Fletcher v. United States (10th Cir. 2013), involved efforts by members of the Osage Nation to secure an accounting of their Indian trust funds. Judge Gorsuch and the court held that the common law trust duties apply as long as consistent with congressional intent as reflected in statute. Rejecting the Interior Department’s interpretation of the Indian Trust Asset Management Act of 1994, Gorsuch invoked the Indian canon of construction to hold that “statutory ambiguities in the field of trust relations must be construed for, not against, Native Americans.”

In addition to favorable decisions on jurisdiction, tribal sovereignty and trust administration, Judge Gorsuch also authored Yellowbear v. Lampert (10th Cir. 2014), a case involving access to a prison sweat lodge by an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe housed in a Wyoming prison. The District Court ruled in favor of prison management who claimed that providing access to the sweat lodge was too costly and burdensome. On appeal, Judge Gorsuch reversed the lower court and remanded the case instructing that the prison management’s generalized claims of cost and burdens are not enough to deny the prisoner’s access to the sweat lodge.

These are only three of Judge Gorsuch’s decisions. For the past 11 years, Gorsuch has participated in some 2,700 cases, including a number of cases involving tribal governments and tribal members.

Read More on the Story:
John Berrey: Neil Gorsuch for the High Court (Indian Country Media Network 4/3)

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

Related Stories:
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on Supreme Court nominee (03/23)
Supreme Court nominee acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (03/22)
Supreme Court nominee fares well in review of Indian law record (3/20)
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)
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:

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
Ramapough Lunaape Nation wins reversal of ruling on prayer camp
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still waits on casino ruling from Trump team
Another former leader of Winnebago Tribe pleads in gaming theft case
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot
Change the Mascot campaign responds to negative Supreme Court ruling
Secretary Zinke set for another hearing on Interior Department budget
Mark Trahant: Republicans write health reform bill behind closed doors
Jeff Grubbe: Agua Caliente Band focuses on protecting our groundwater
Steven Newcomb: Asserting our traditions in the era of Donald Trump
Shasta Dazen: 'Family Spirit' program incorporates our tribal traditions
Secretary Zinke shuffles top Indian Affairs officials at Interior Department
Choctaw Nation travels to Ireland to dedicate 'Kindred Spirits' sculpture
Nooksack Tribe closes doors to casino after being hit with federal order
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed
Mark Trahant: Dakota Access decision offers a chance to return to respect
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe hails 'victory' in Dakota Access Pipeline case
Nooksack Tribe told to close casino amid leadership and citizenship feud
Kristi Noem: Enough is enough - It's time to fix the Indian Health Service
Second hearing scheduled on bill to reform the Indian Health Service
Trump nominee for appeals court seen as favorable to tribal interests
Terese Mailhot: We don't tell Native women how brilliant they really are
Indian Country cheers as judge orders review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Jacqueline Keeler: Connecting the Dakota Access Pipeline to history
Cronkite News: Tribes win decision in water rights dispute in Arizona
Secretary Zinke rejects complaints about consultation and Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves two bills at meeting
Embattled Indian Health Service hospital losing top executive again
Connecticut tribes heap praise on senior Trump administration official
Gabe Galanda: Tribal 'membership' rules strip away at sovereignty
Swinomish Tribe still pursuing lawsuit against oil trains on reservation
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians unveil biking and hiking trail system
>>> 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.