Shinnecock Indian Nation v. New York Cert Petition


Shinnecock Cert Petition

Questions presented:

Petitioner’s case is the last in a long line of Indian land claim cases arising in the State of New York in which Indian tribes have been denied access to the courts by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Cayuga Indian Nation v. Pataki,413 F.3d 266 (2d Cir. 2005); see also, Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 617 F.3d 114 (2d Cir. 2010); Onondaga Nation v. New York, 500 F. App’x 87 (2d Cir. 2012); Stockbridge-Munsee Community v. New York, 756 F.3d 163 (2d Cir. 2014). Based on its Cayuga “laches” defense, the court of appeals summarily dismissed all claims of Petitioner for legal and equitable relief for the loss of their lands in violation of the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790, also known as the Indian Non-Intercourse Act, 25 U.S.C. § 177. Recently, however, this Court affirmed the general rule in equity that courts may not override Congress’ judgment and apply laches to summarily dispose of all claims filed within a statute of limitations established by Congress, thereby foreclosing the possibility of any form of relief. Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962, 1975 (2014). In Petrella, this Court recognized that only equitable remedies may be foreclosed at the outset of litigation due to delay in commencing suit in “extraordinary circumstances.” Id. at 1977. The questions presented are:
1. Whether at the outset of litigation a court may apply “laches” to foreclose an Indian tribe from bringing its federal statutory and common-law claims, *ii including one for money damages, if brought within the statute of limitations established by Congress.
2. Whether a court violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process and Takings Clauses when it retroactively applies a new, judicially-formulated rule to dismiss an Indian tribe’s viable claims ab initio, thereby extinguishing established property rights.
Lower court materials here.


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