In December, the Tenth Circuit will hear oral argument in the United States’ appeal of the dismissal of the prosecution of Winslow Friday for the taking of eagle parts. The district court found that the difficulty for American Indians in obtaining eagle parts using the national eagle repository permit system violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Specifically, the court held that the eagle repository permit system was not the least restrictive means to protect eagles and therefore infringed on the religious freedom of Winslow Friday.
One element of the case that might make it difficult for Winslow Friday is the apparent fact that he never applied for a permit. The lower court found that the application of a permit was futile. However, some American Indians did seek and receive permits to fatally take eagles, perhaps only 1 but perhaps as many as 5.
The lower court order is here: District Court’s Order of Dismissal
The Government’s opening brief is here: US Opening Brief
Friday’s response brief is here: Friday’s Response Brief
The Government’s reply brief is here: US Reply Brief