July 2007 NY State Bar Exam Indian Law Question

We know that Washington, New Mexico, and South Dakota have Indian law on the state bar exam, but so did the July 2007 New York state bar(!!!!).

Update from Paul Spruhan: The question came from a “multistate performance test” that is created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and administered in all states that utilize the MPT.  The MPT is an additional part of those states’ bar exams in addition to the essays and multi-state multiple choice exam (here’s their web site: http://www.ncbex.org/multistate-tests/mpt/)

Interestingly, that means that a number of states used this same question.  It would interesting to know how many states participate, as this has to be the most widely tested Indian law question ever.  It was used in New Mexico that year, as I heard from a few people after the exam that there was no New Mexico-specific Indian law essay question, but that this question did appear as the MPT question.

Here’s the question:

MPT – Acme Resources, Inc. v. Robert Black Hawk et al. (July 2007, MPT-1)

Applicants’ law firm represents Robert Black Hawk and other members of the Black Eagle Tribe who have sued Acme Resources, Inc., a mining company, in tribal court seeking to recover for damage caused by Acme’s mining coal bed methane from under reservation land, in addition to an injunction ordering Acme to cease its mining activities. The Tribe members claim that their water wells are running dry, leaving them without water for livestock and crops, because Acme’s mining activities are depleting the water table. Acme’s answer to the tribal court complaint denies liability for the alleged harm and also denies that the tribal court has jurisdiction in this matter. Subsequently, Acme filed suit in federal court requesting a declaratory judgment that the tribal court lacks jurisdiction over Acme and seeking an injunction against the tribe members’ prosecution of the tribal court action. Applicants are asked to draft the argument section of a brief in support of a motion for summary judgment in the federal action or, in the alternative, to dismiss or stay the action on the grounds that the tribal court has jurisdiction and that Acme has failed to exhaust its tribal court remedies before pursuing its complaint in federal court. The File contains an instructional memorandum, a transcript of a client interview, a copy of Acme’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court, a draft motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, to dismiss or stay, and affidavits from a tribe member and a geologist. The Library contains excerpts from the tribe’s constitution and tribal code and one case.

What I want to know is whether the Supreme Court clerk who (possibly) recommended that the Court grant cert. in Plains Commerce Bank had to answer this question.

One thought on “July 2007 NY State Bar Exam Indian Law Question

  1. trentcrable January 19, 2008 / 5:08 am

    Regarding your Q, Matthew: It is extremely rare for Supreme Court clerks to be straight out of school. These days, it’s basically required that they come from a COA clerkship. The current clerks all graduated in 2006 or earlier (2005 or earlier for most).

    Of course any of them could’ve taken a bar exam last summer, but most people who clerk do the standard thing and take the summer after graduating. My guess is it is very unlikely.

    If you are interested, wikipedia has a good page on SCOTUS clerks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_clerks_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States

    This may be of interest: A current Alito clerk is the daughter of Carter Phillips, who was counsel of record on the NCAI/NARF amicus briefs for Lara and Sherrill (maybe others).

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