indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Falmouth Institute - December in Las Vegas
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Supreme Court rejects land-into-trust case
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Filed Under: Law | Trust

The administration of President Barack Obama received some good news on Wednesday with the end of a potentially troublesome land-into-trust case.

The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, declined to hear MichGo v. Kempthorne, a lawsuit that tested the ability of the federal government to acquire land for tribes. The order from the high court came only a few minutes after Ken Salazar, a former senator from Colorado, started his job as the Secretary of the Interior Department.

The move effectively settles a debate that has haunted Interior as far back as the Clinton administration. For years, tribal foes have argued that the land-into-trust provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act are unconstitutional.

Every court that has taken up that question has rejected it. So the action yesterday indicates the justices aren't interested in overturning the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 10th and the D.C. circuits, whose combined jurisdictions cover nearly every tribe in the country.

One tribe, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, was particularly pleased with the latest development. The tribe's efforts to create a reservation and open a casino were hindered for years by a group called Michigan Gambling Opposition.

"We are very happy with the Supreme Court's decision to reject MichGO's appeal," said Chairman D.K. Sprague. "It is, however, bittersweet because the tribe and thousands of its supporters were irrevocably harmed by this lawsuit."

Despite the favorable news, another land-into-trust issue remains in limbo. Last fall, the Supreme Court heard Carcieri v. Kempthorne, a case that could change the way Interior deals with tribes that gained federal recognition after the passage of the IRA in 1934.

Department of Justice lawyers who were appointed by President George W. Bush filed a brief with the Supreme Court last month that anticipated more hurdles for tribes like the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band, whose recognition became final in 1999. The brief said Interior would have to determine whether a post-1934 tribe was under federal supervision despite not being formally recognized.

Sprague answered that question yesterday by citing a treaty Chief Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish signed with the U.S. in 1795. The Bush-authored brief said treaties were one way to determine whether a recently recognized tribe qualifies for the land-into-trust process.

But the Obama administration may take a different approach to addressing the post-1934 issue if Carcieri goes against tribal interests. Or the Supreme Court could rule that the IRA applies to all tribes, regardless of the date of recognition.

Between 1887, the start of the allotment period, and 1934, tribes lost 90 million acres of their land. Since the IRA, only about 5 million acres has been reacquired in trust.

Tribes complain that the land-into-trust process takes too long to complete, in part because existing regulations do not impose deadlines on Interior. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office cited an application that took nearly 20 years for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to resolve.

Litigation can also tie up an application for years, as was the case with three Michigan tribes, including the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe. All three lawsuits were resolved in favor of tribal interests.

Briefs in MichGO v. Kempthorne:
Petition | DOJ Opposition | Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band Opposition

D.C. Circuit Decision:
MI Gambling Oppo v. Kempthorne, Dirk (April 29, 2008)

Related Stories:
Land-into-trust case awaits Supreme Court action (1/13)
Turtle Talk: More thoughts on land-into-trust cases (01/13)
Supreme Court rejects two Indian law cases (1/12)
DOJ brief argues 1934 land-into-trust issue again (12/16)
Supreme Court takes on first Indian law case of term (11/04)
Turtle Talk: Poor outlook on land-into-trust case (11/4)
Rhode Island optimistic on land-into-trust case (11/04)
Oregon tribes await outcome of land-into-trust case (11/04)
Appeals court delays casino for Michigan tribe (8/18)
Appeals court judge strikes blows against Indian rights (5/5)
Appeals court backs Gun Lake land-into-trust (4/29)
Appeals court backs Michigan land-into-trust acquisition (7/5)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (1/9)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/21)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/21)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/21)
Leader of Choctaw Nation faces tough questions in fraud trial (11/21)
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas (11/21)
House Natural Resources Committee passes three tribal bills (11/21)
Chaske Spencer: Changing the narrative for our Native youth (11/21)
Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
Leader of Navajo Nation signs bill for higher tax on junk food (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Little Traverse Bay Bands swear in interim leader after recall (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
Editorial: Work with Burns Paiute Tribe on land-into-trust bid (11/21)
Ex-employee of Passamaquoddy Tribe admits to drug charge (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
GAO report looks at tribal implementation of Adam Walsh Act (11/20)
FBI opens background check database to tribal law agencies (11/20)
Survey shows most Americans wouldn't use R-word in person (11/20)
USDA Blog: Youth from Angoon Tribe carry on their traditions (11/20)
Editorial: County and critics must stop fighting Chumash Tribe (11/20)
Editorial: Oklahoma Indian museum benefits the entire state (11/20)
Muscogee Nation finally starts work on $365M gaming project (11/20)
Two tribes making push for off-reservation casino in California (11/20)
Mashantucket Tribe hires new executive for gaming operation (11/20)
Opinion: Catawba Nation makes a sneak attack with casino bid (11/20)
Opinion: Poarch Creek gaming deal won't help state's economy (11/20)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne activists push for change (11/19)
Mark Trahant: Historic election in Alaska with Native candidate (11/19)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on child trauma (11/19)
Republicans hold up action on Alaska tribal jurisdiction measure (11/19)
DOI official to give update on Cobell land consolidation program (11/19)
Center for Native American Youth hosts panel discussion in DC (11/19)
Sen. Heitkamp to host panel on child trauma in Indian Country (11/19)
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.