Guest Post: Kirsten Matoy Carlson on Eighth Circuit Judge Diana Murphy

In Remembrance: Judge Diana Murphy

Last month, Indian country lost a powerful advocate and friend, the Honorable Diana E. Murphy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Judge Murphy was the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and she remained the only women on the court for decades. Unlike many federal appellate judges, she served as a district court judge for over a decade before joining the Court of Appeals.

During her thirty-plus years on the federal bench, Judge Murphy heard almost 50 cases and wrote close to two dozen opinions related to federal Indian law. Her majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions covered a wide range of topics, including, inter alia, land-into-trust, taxation, gaming, tribal civil adjudicatory jurisdiction, tribal sovereign immunity, treaty rights, reservation boundaries, and criminal jurisdiction. Her Indian law jurisprudence reflected her remarkable ability to tackle complicated factual and historical patterns, to read closely and identify the relevant facts in their historical context, to apply the law precisely to those facts, and to value and give voice to cultures and ways of life distinct from her own. She was one of those rare federal judges who recognized Indian nations and their people for what they are: sovereign governments with distinctive cultures and ways of life.

Among Judge Murphy’s well known majority opinions are:

Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians v. Minnesota Dep’t of Natural Resources, 861 F. Supp. 784 (Dist. Minn. 1994) — 861_f.supp._784

Gaming Corp. of Am. v. Dorsey & Whitney, 88 F.3d 536 (8th Cir. 1996) — 88_f.3d_536

United States v. Brown, 777 F.3d 1025 (8th Cir. 2015) — 777_f.3d_1025

County of Charles Mix v. United States DOI, 674 F.3d 898 (8th Cir. 2015) — 674_f.3d_898

Hornell Brewing Co. v. Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court, 133 F.3d 1087 (8th Cir. 1998) — 133_f.3d_1087

Leech Lake Band of Chippewa Indians v. Cass County, 108 F.3d 820 (8th Cir. 1997) — 108_f.3d_820

Yankton Sioux Tribe v. Podhradsky, 577 F.3d 951 (8th Cir. 2009) — 577_f.3d_951

Gaming World Int’l v. White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians, 317 F.3d 840 (8th Cir. 2003) — 317_f.3d_840

United States v. Santee Sioux Tribe, 254 F.3d 728 (8th Cir. 2001) — 254_f.3d_728

United States v. Santee Sioux Tribe of Neb., 324 F.3d 607 (8th Cir. 2003) — 324_f.3d_607

Bettor Racing, Inc. v. Nat’l Indian Gaming Comm’n, 812 F.3d 648 (8th Cir. 2016) — 812_f.3d_648

City of Duluth v. Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, 785 F.3d 1207 (8th Cir. 2015) — 785_f.3d_1207

United States ex rel. Bernard v. Casino Magic Corp., 384 F.3d 510 (8th Cir. 2004) — 384_f.3d_510

Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., 491 F.3d 878 (8th Cir. 2007) — 491_f.3d_878

Attorney’s Process & Investigation Servs. v. Sac & Fox Tribe, 609 F.3d 927 (8th Cir. 2010) — 609_f.3d_927

DISH Network Serv. L.L.C. v. Laducer, 725 F.3d 877 (8th Cir. 2013) — 725_f.3d_877

Judge Murphy also wrote several powerful concurrences and dissents, including:

Nord v. Kelly, 520 F.3d 848 (8th Cir. 2008) (concurrence) — 520_f.3d_848

Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa v. Frans, 649 F.3d 849 (8th Cir. 2011) (dissent) — 649_f.3d_849

South Dakota v. United States DOI, 69 F.3d 878 (8th Cir. 1995) (dissent) — 69_f.3d_878


One thought on “Guest Post: Kirsten Matoy Carlson on Eighth Circuit Judge Diana Murphy

  1. swride June 26, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    Nice post, lots of hard work in that record.

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