Briefs on PI and TRO in Glacier County Regional Port Authority v. Esau, et al.

Port Authority’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and TRO:

On February 10, the Blackfeet Nation filed a Response in Support of the Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order:

Brief in Response:

The Blackfeet Nation intervened in the case, arguing that the State of Montana does not have the authority to enforce state law on the Reservation.

Tribal Nations Granted Intervention in Bears Ears Litigation

On November 18, 2022, the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni moved to intervene in two lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah regarding the Bears Ears National Monument. The Court granted the motions to intervene.

Order granting intervention here:

Motions can be seen here and here.

Bears Ears at Sunset. Photo credit: Tim Peterson.

Blackfeet Nation granted intervention in Glacier County Regional Port Authority v. Laurie Esau

This case is about whether the Montana Human Rights Bureau can enforce state law on Blackfeet Nation land. Here is the brief in support of the motion to intervene.

And here is the order granting intervention.

More on the case here.

Spirit Lake Nation sues Benson County North Dakota over its redistricting plan

The Spirit Lake Nation and two tribal members sued Benson County North Dakota, alleging that the county’s at-large redistricting plan: (1) discriminates against Native American voters by unlawfully diluting their voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; and (2) violates a 2000 consent decree in which the county was prohibited from ever implementing an at-large method of election.  Here is the Complaint:

More information on the case here.

Decision in Western Native Voice et al. v. Jacobsen (voting rights)

After a two week trial, on September 30, 2022, a Montana court struck down as unconstitutional two state laws that hinder Native participation in the state’s electoral process. HB 176 eliminated Election Day registration, which reservation voters disproportionately rely upon to cast votes in Montana. HB 530 prohibited paid third-party ballot assistance, a service that aids Native voters living on reservations. The court ruled that the laws violate provisions of the Montana Constitution, including the right to vote, equal protection, free speech, and due process.

The 199 page order is here:

More background and information on the case can be seen here.

South Dakota District Court Grants Preliminary Injunction in Lower Brule Redistricting Suit

Here is the order:

The decision acknowledges that the county’s current redistricting plan would dilute the voting power of the Native community and requires the county commissioners to create a new plan for the county elections in November. “The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe remains ready to help Lyman County make positive changes on and off-reservation: let’s get started,” said plaintiff, voter, and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Vice Chairman Neil Russell.

More here. Previous post here.

NCAI Amicus Brief in Merrill v. Milligan

On January 24, 2022, a unanimous three-judge court in the Milligan case blocked Alabama’s newly drawn congressional map. The Court ordered the state Legislature to draft a new congressional map that complies with the Voting Rights Act by including two districts where Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The Supreme Court is now hearing the case.

Here is NCAI’s amicus brief in the matter.

ND District Court Denies State’s Motion to Dismiss Redistricting Case

Here is the Order denying the North Dakota’s Motion to Dismiss Turtle Mountain and Spirit Lake’s Complaint.

The Tribes’ Release can be seen here. From the release:

“North Dakota’s newly drawn state legislative map dilutes the voting strength of Spirt Lake members. The Secretary of State has tried to dismiss the case on far-fetched procedural arguments because he doesn’t want to have to argue the facts, but we look forward to the opportunity move forward with this case,” said Spirit Lake Tribe Chair Douglas Yankton, Sr.

“Historically, Native voters in northeastern North Dakota have been able to elect two State House candidates of our choice. The new map reduces our representatives to one and is in direct violation of the Voting Rights Act. We appreciate that the court recognized that Tribes and individual Native voters have the right to be heard and have our voting rights protected,” said Turtle Mountain Chippewa Chair Jamie Azure.

The Motion, Response, Reply, and United States’ Statement of Interest are below.

Previous post on this matter here.

Wyoming Federal District Court Orders Exhaustion

The District Court of Wyoming dismissed a claim against the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and First Nation Healthcare, requiring exhaustion of tribal court remedies. Here is the Order:

And here are the tribal briefs: