9th Circuit rebuffs Samish Nation on treaty rights
The Samish Nation of Washington can't reopen the landmark Boldt treaty rights case, an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said on Friday.

In 1974, Judge George Boldt ruled that tribes in Washington are entitled to half of the fish catch. The Samish Nation, however, wasn't on the list of federally recognized tribes at the time.

After being restored to recognition in 1996, the tribe sought a share of the catch. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said the tribe should be given a chance to pursue its treaty rights

But after another look at the case, the 9th Circuit said reopening the case would hurt other tribes that are covered by the Boldt decision. "The impact of new claims asserted as Samish claims will have a particularly severe impact on such treaty tribes," the court said.

The ruling is the second loss in federal court for the Samish Nation. Last month, a judge said the tribe can't seek damages for the federal benefits it lost between 1969 and 1996.

Get the Story:
Tribe Loses Ruling on Treaty Fishing Rights (Courthouse News 12/14)

9th Circuit Decision:
US v. Washington (December 11, 2009)

Related Stories:
Samish Nation loses case over lost federal benefits (12/10)
Samish Nation argues for fishing rights (10/11)