Friday, November 4, 2011

Federal Indian Law Cases - Legal Precedent

Indian Law Cases Supportive of State, Local and Non-Indian Citizens 1978 - 2011

The cases below are predominantly U.S. Supreme Court cases and  are arranged in chronological order. Over two decades (1978-1998) there were 12 rulings favorable to states and local governments. Since the year 2000, however, there have been an additional 19 rulings favorable. to states and local governments. This list does not purport to include every favorable court ruling in Indian law; however, it highlights key and high-visibility cases, particularly those since the year 2005.

Of particular note are the rulings emanating from the Roberts Court since 2005.

Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978). Indian tribes lack criminal jurisdiction over non Indians. Indian tribal courts do not have inherent criminal jurisdiction to try and to punish non-Indians, and hence may not assume such jurisdiction unless specifically authorized to do so by Congress.

Montana v. United States, 450 U. S., at 565  (1980). Exceptions to tribal authority:  1) Title to land of Big Horn River passed to Montana at its statehood; 2) Tribe has no power to regulate non-Indian fishing and hunting on reservation land owned in fee by non-members of the Tribe; 3) Tribe's "inherent sovereignty" does not support its regulation of non-Indian hunting and fishing on non-Indian lands within the reservation; 4)  Exercise of tribal  power beyond what is necessary to protect self-government or to control internal relations is inconsistent with the dependent status of the tribes, and so cannot survive without express congressional delegation.

Brendale v. Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Nation, 492 U.S. 408 (1989). Tribes lack authority to zone nonmembers' land within an area of a Tribe's reservation open to the general public.

Yakima v. Confederated Tribes, 502 U.S. 251, (1992) County has authority to impose ad valorem tax on  reservation land patented in fee, pursuant to Allotment Act of 1887, but does not have authority to enforce excise tax on sales of such land.

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, et al. (No. 94-12), 517 U.S. 44 (1996). Under the U.S. Constitution's Indian commerce clause, the U.S. Congress does not have the power to abrogate the states' Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from suit. The Court further held that the Eleventh Amendment prevents Congress from authorizing suits in federal court by Indian tribes against states to enforce the provision in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) requiring states to negotiate in good faith.

Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho (No. 94-1474), 521 U.S. 261 (1997). The Court ruled that the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's suit against the state officials may not proceed in federal court because States enjoy Eleventh Amendment immunity in suits filed by Indian tribes.

Strate, et al. v. A-1 Contractors, et al., 520 U.S. 438 (1997). A civil action against allegedly negligent nonmembers falls within state or federal regulatory and adjudicatory governance; absent a statute or treaty authorizing the tribe to govern the conduct of nonmembers driving on the State's highway, tribal courts may not exercise jurisdiction in such cases. Tribes do not have regulatory or adjudicatory authority over state highways.

Cass County, MN, et al. v. Leech Lake Band Of Chippewa Indians, 524 U.S. 103 (1998). When Congress makes Indian reservation land freely alienable, it manifests an unmistakably clear intent to render such land subject to state and local taxation. Repurchasing the land by an Indian tribe does not return the land to tax-exempt status.

Burlington Northern Railroad v. Estate of Red Wolf, 106 F.3d 868, 9th Circuit (1998) The (Crow) Tribe lacks jurisdiction over railroad  right-of-way. The Tribe lacks gate-keeping authority to regulate activity on public right-of-ways. "Tribal authority to regulate the conduct of non-members depends upon the tribe’s power to exclude non-members from reservation lands. Because the tribe has lost the power to exclude BN (and other non-Indian members) from the reservation, it has also lost the power to regulate BN and other non-Indian member conduct."

Arizona Dept. of Revenue v. Blaze Construction 526 U.S. 32 (1999). State generally may impose a nondiscriminatory tax upon a private company’s proceeds from contracts with the Federal Government, regardless of whether the federal contractor renders its services on an Indian reservation.

Rice v. Cayetano (No. 98-818) 528 U.S. 495 (2000). A state may not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, and this law does so," Justice Kennedy wrote for the Court. The court rejected the state's argument that the voting limitation was one based on ancestry, not race.

Dept. of Interior v. Klamath Water Users Protect Assoc., 532 U.S. 1 (2001). There is no exemption under FOIA for correspondence between the Tribe and the Bureau (DOI); documents are not exempt from public disclosure as inter-agency or intra-agency communications.

 Nevada, et. al. v. Hicks, (No. 99-1994) 533 U.S. 353 (2001). A tribe’s adjudicatory authority does not exceed its legislative authority. State jurisdiction does not end at a reservation boundary. In this case, the tribe lacked adjudicatory authority as well.

Atkinson Trading Co. v. Shirley (No. 00-454) 532 U.S. 645 (2001). Court held that the Navajo Nation's imposition of a hotel occupancy tax upon nonmembers on non-Indian fee land within its reservation is invalid. Indian tribes are 'unique aggregations possessing attributes of sovereignty over both their members and their territory,' but their dependent status generally precludes extension of tribal civil authority beyond these limits.

Bishop Paiute Tribe v. County of Inyo, 538 U.S. 701,  (2003) An Indian tribe is not a “person” entitled to bring a suit under federal law 42 U.S.C. 1983 (civil rights).

Grutter v Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306, (2003) 14th amendment equal protection standard applies to state and federal action in parallel affirmative action cases by stating the standard as “governmental action,” including Native Americans.

Terrorism cases: (Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466, and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507) (2004) Supreme Court rules that federal courts have judicial review of executive land status determination that land is a separate  territory outside of constitutional jurisdiction. Case highlights that detainees had more rights than tribal members or U.S. citizens in “territories.” Cases have Indian law application.

City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y. (2005) Mere acquisition of fee property does not restore “Indian” status to the land. Ruling upheld Laches, Doctrines of Acquiescence and Justifiable Expectations. Oneidas long ago relinquished governmental reins and cannot regain through open-market purchases from current titleholders.

Wagnon v. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, 546 U.S. 95 (2005) State tax is valid and poses no affront to the Nation’s sovereignty. The Bracker interest-balancing test does not apply to a tax that results from an off-reservation transaction between non-Indians. Kansas motor fuel tax is a nondiscriminatory tax imposed on an off-reservation transaction between non-Indians.

Alaska v. lUL. S. (2005) The Federal government cannot establish Reservation Land without reserved rights.

Plains Commerce Bank, Petitioner v. Long Family Land and Cattle Company, Inc., et al., (07-411) (2007) “A tribe’s adjudicative jurisdiction does not exceed its legislative jurisdiction.” Tribal Court lacks jurisdiction to hear claim because the Tribe lacks the civil authority to regulate the Bank’s sale of its fee land. Tribal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear disputes concerning non- Indian banks' sales of their own lands.

Kickapoo v. Texas 07-1109, (2007) A State cannot be compelled to enter into a class three compact.

Cayuga Indian Nation v. State of New York, O2-6111 et al.  (2007)  Cert denied. Upholding and allowing extension of City of Sherrill, Laches, Justifiable Expectations of long established communities.

Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 07-1372, (2009). The federal government may not remove land ceded to a state without express consent of the state legislature. The (“Apology”) resolution would raise grave constitutional concerns if it purported to “cloud” Hawaii’s title to its sovereign lands.

Carcieri v. Salazar. (07-526),(2009). Because the term “now under federal jurisdiction” in §479 unambiguously refers to tribes that were under federal jurisdiction when the IRA was enacted in 1934…the Secretary does not have the authority to take the 31-acre parcel into trust.

Navajo v. U.S., (07-1410) (2009) Absent express language within a statute there is no federal “trust” relationship. If a statute or regulation imposes a trust relationship, then common law principles are relevant in determining whether damages are available for breach of the duty, but the Tribe cannot identify a specific, applicable, trust-creating statute or regulation that the Government violated, so trust principles do not apply.

Preservation of Los Olivos (POLO) v. U.S. Dept of Interior, 635 F.Supp.2d 1076 (2009) (Federal Claims Court) (1) Court had jurisdiction to evaluate whether citizens' groups had standing to seek judicial review of IBIA's orders; (2) (community) groups demonstrated injury in fact; (3) groups had an interest directly regulated by an action of the IBIA, as required to have prudential standing; and (4) IBIA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in invoking judicial standing principles to dismiss groups' appeal.

Bond v. U.S. (09-1227), (2011). (Federalism case). A citizen charged and convicted under a federal statute has standing to challenge, under a Tenth Amendment claim, the federal statute on grounds that the measure interferes with the powers reserved to States.

U. S. v. Jicarilla Apache Nation, (10-382) (2011)   The fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege does not apply to the general trust relationship between the United States and the Native American tribes.

Patchak v. U.S. (09-5324) D.C. Circuit (2011). Patchak fulfilled the judicially created zone-of-interests test for standing. Patchak, who is not claiming or challenging title, is not governed by the Quiet Title Act, then § 702 of the APA waives the government’s sovereign immunity.

Oneida Indian Nation v. Madison County, 06-6408-cv(L), 2011. (Oneida) Nation’s sovereign immunity from lawsuits and federal restrictions on the alienation of lands under the 1790 Nonintercourse Act “could no longer be sustained” because the Nation had voluntarily waived its sovereign immunity in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Appellate court moves foreclosure case into State court for adjudication.

PENDING at the U.S. Supreme Court:

Salazar v. Patchak, 11-247 USSC Writ of Writ of Cert )2011) (1) Whether 5 U.S.C. § 702 waives the sovereign immunity of the United States from a suit challenging its title to lands that it holds in trust for an Indian Tribe; and (2) whether a private individual who alleges injuries resulting from the operation of a gaming facility on Indian trust land has prudential standing to challenge the decision of the Secretary of the Interior to take title to that land in trust, on the ground that the decision was not authorized by the Indian Reorganization Act.

Corboy v. Louie, (11-336),( USSC Writ of Cert. (2011) Issue: (1) Whether petitioners have standing to seek a refund of their own taxes; and (2) whether the Equal Protection Clause precludes a state or municipality from creating tax exemptions that are available only to members of a certain race. (taxation based upon racial classification case).

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