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Myers before Senate Judiciary Committee again

The Senate Judiciary Committee today will hold its second confirmation for Bush judicial nominee Bill Myers.

Myers, a former lobbyist for the ranching and grazing industry, has been re-nominated for a spot on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court hears an extreme large number of Indian law cases from western states, Alaska and Hawaii.

Tribes and tribal organizations unanimously oppose Myers due to his actions as the Interior Department's top lawyer from July 2001 to December 2003. He rescinded a legal opinion that paved the way for a gold mine on land sacred to the Quechan Nation. He never consulted the tribe but met with the mining company before he acted.

Myers also intervened on behalf of the department in a mining dispute affecting the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Nevada. The tribe and its non-Indian neighbors banded together to oppose a 24/7 kitty litter mine next to the reservation. But Myers filed a brief siding with the mining company after local officials rejected the mine.

On trust, Myers played a key role in the Cobell v. Norton lawsuit and how it was handled. At one point, senior officials accused him of making an "intimidating" request to sign onto a status report that they did not feel reflected true progress on trust reform. The Native American Rights Fund also says he should be held in contempt for allowing trust records to be destroyed.

When asked by the committee to list his most important cases, Myers listed the Navajo Nation and White Mountain Apache trust cases that the Bush administration took the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices rejected the government's attempt to limit its trust obligations to tribal beneficiaries.

The hearing takes place at 9:30am in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. The live webcast can be accessed at

Get the Story:
Debate Resumes on Court Picks (The Washington Post 3/1)
Judicial Nominee to Face Senate Panel Again (The Los Angeles Times 3/1)
Senate renews fight over Bush nominees (AP 3/1)
A New G.O.P. Tack on a Judicial Nominee (The New York Times 3/1)
Senate renews fight over Bush nominees (AP 3/1)
Big biz battles for Bush's bench (Salon 3/1)

Relevant Documents:
Inspector General Letter | NCAI Resolution | Environmental Group's Letter | Holland & Hart Biography

Indianz.Com Profile:
Industry insider named to Interior (March 30, 2001)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Myers reversing sacred site opinion (10/25)
Bush nominee has no 'agenda' on Clinton decisions (6/21)

Related Stories:
NCAI renews objection to Bill Myers nomination (2/25)
Probe of Myers role in ranching dispute released (2/23)
Investigation faults role of Bush nominee at Interior (02/16)
Republicans to push Myers for appeals court again (2/15)
Democrats block court nominee on Senate floor (7/21)
Vote set on controversial Bush court nominee (7/20)
Democrats continue to object to Myers nomination (05/19)
Bush nominee opposed by Indian Country advances (04/02)
Tribes blast Bush choice for federal appeals court (03/26)
Tribal leaders to discuss court nominee, budget (03/24)
Tex Hall: Former DOI lawyer bad choice for court (3/8)
Myers advocated giving $1M federal land for free (03/08)
Bush judicial nominee blasted by Democrats (02/06)
Senate committee to take up Bill Myers judgeship (2/3)
Probes clear ex-DOI lawyer seeking judgeship (01/12)
Appeals court nominee favored industry over tribes (12/18)
Interior's top lawyer stepping down next month (10/02)
DOI's top lawyer under ethics investigation (08/15)
Interior has few answers at Senate hearing (7/18)
Tribes push action on sacred sites (3/21)
Interior Solicitor on trust fund crash course (10/17)
Memo: Solicitor's order was 'intimidating' (10/10)
Myers reversing sacred site opinion (10/25)
Bush nominee has no 'agenda' on Clinton decisions (6/21)
Norton confirmed by 'landslide' (1/31)
Babbitt denies Calif. gold mine (1/19)
BLM recommends mine rejection (11/10)