Federal Court Rejects Michigan’s Laches Defenses in Saginaw Chippewa v. Graholm

Here is the opinion.

An excerpt:

These principles persuade the Court that, as a matter of law, the time-based equitable defenses Defendants wish to advance are inapplicable to the issues here presented and may not otherwise be advanced against the United States’s enforcement of its treaties. Consequently, Defendants may not rely on the time-based equitable defenses of laches, estoppel, acquiescence, or impossibility. In addition, testimony and proofs offered in support of these affirmative defenses are irrelevant. Thus, the United States’s and the Saginaw Chippewa’s motions should be granted.

Earlier materials are here.

3 thoughts on “Federal Court Rejects Michigan’s Laches Defenses in Saginaw Chippewa v. Graholm

  1. Kate October 30, 2008 / 6:16 pm

    Just goes to show one way a court can limit Sherrill if it wants to–as opposed to broadly opening it up, the way the Cayuga court did.

    In this opinion, the court also points out the serious problems with one part of the Cayuga holding, that laches applies to the United States, and cites the Cayuga dissent extensively. This is one of the few victories against the new laches, and is based heavily on the presence of the United States as a party to the case.

    Of course, I wish the court had stated that laches didn’t apply to the tribe because of its own sovereign status.

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