Tribes working to keep cases away from Supreme Court
In 2000 and 2001, tribal interests suffered a slew of losses before the U.S. Supreme Court, prompting the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund to start coordinating efforts to keep cases from reaching the justices.

For the most part, the Tribal Supreme Court Project appears to be paying off. Between 2001 and 2005, tribes were able to keep most of their cases out of the court and even succeeded in some instances.

But the record has been less rosy in the last couple of years. "We had a winning percentage from 2001 to 2005 but now we're back to a situation where we are zero for five," NARF attorney Richard Guest told The National Law Journal.

The biggest loss came in 2009, when the decision in Carcieri v. Salazar restricted the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The Navajo Nation also lost a big breach of trust case that year too.

This year, NCAI and NARF are monitoring two trust cases -- US v. Tohono O'odnam Nation and Wolfchild v. US. There's also another land-into-trust issue presented in North County Community Alliance v. Salazar.

Get the Story:
Indians Try to Keep Cases Away From High Court (The National Law Journal 3/30)