Mary Sarah Bilder has posted “Without Doors: Native Nations and the Convention,” just published in the Fordham Law Review.
Here is the abstract:
The Constitution’s apparent textual near silence with respect to Native Nations is misleading. As this Article reveals, four representatives of Native Nations visited Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Their visit ensured that the Constitution secured the general government’s treaty authority with Native Nations and decisively barred state claims of authority. But, the visits also threatened to disrupt Congress’s passage of the Northwest Ordinance and the vision of nationally sanctioned white settlement. In the process of successfully preventing the representatives from reaching Congress, Secretary at War Henry Knox developed the central tenets of what would become the George Washington administration’s early Indian policy: an acceptance of Native Nation sovereignty, disapproval of unauthorized white encroachment, and an attempt to discourage Native Nations from sending additional representatives. In addition to emphasizing the strong national federal government role and Native Nation sovereignty, this history provides evidence that the Framers’ generation without doors—outside the Convention—critically affected the creation of the Constitution as an instrument and a system of government. Recovering the visits of the deputies to Philadelphia in 1787 and the promises they received, including Washington’s handshake, suggests that the United States today should reaffirm the right and the importance of Native Nations sending deputies to Congress.
Vol. 45, No. 1 (2020-2021)
Front Pages PDF
ICWA’s Irony – Marcia Zug PDF
The Secretary of the Interior Has the Authority to Take Land into Trust for Federally Recognized Alaska Tribes – Meghan O’Connor PDF
“The Desert Is Our Home” – Kayla Molina PDF
Coeur D’alene Tribe v. Hawks: Why Federal Courts Have the Power to Recognize and Enforce Tribal Court Judgments Against Nonmembers “Because of the Federal Government’s Unique Relationship with Indian Tribes” – Heath Albert PDF
The Disproportionate Effect on Native American Women of Extending the Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Act to Include a Woman’s Conduct Against Her Child in Utero: United States v. Flute – Andie B. Netherland PDF
Mirrored Harms: Unintended Consequences in the Grant of Tribal Court Jurisdiction over Non-Indian Abusers – Jonathan Riedel PDF
Judith M. Stinson, Tara Mospan, and Marnie Hodahkwen have posted “Trusting Tribal Courts: More Lawyers is Not Always the Answer” on SSRN. The paper is forthcoming in the Law Journal for Social Justice at ASU.
Many outsiders distrust tribal courts because they assume they will be treated unfairly. This distrust creates a number of problems, including decreasing the effectiveness of tribal judicial systems, inhibiting tribal economic development, and ultimately undermining tribal sovereignty. Critics of tribal courts assert three main justifications for their structural skepticism: first, that tribal courts are “different” from other court systems in the United States; second, that tribal laws and traditions seem foreign and may be difficult to access; and third, that because the qualifications for judges and practitioners in tribal courts sometimes differ from those in other courts, tribal judges and advocates are inferior. Drawing on other scholarship, this article briefly responds to the first two criticisms. This paper then argues that non-lawyer judges and lay advocates can be as effective as law-trained judges and advocates in other court systems. Although it is impossible to eliminate all outsider bias, refuting the claimed justifications should demonstrate that tribal courts are as fair and as competent as non-tribal courts. Therefore, greater confidence in tribal courts is warranted.
Alexander Tallchief Skibine has posted “Textualism and the Indian Canons of Statutory Construction,” forthcoming in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, on SSRN.
Here is the abstract:
When interpreting statutes enacted for the benefit or regulation of Indians or construing treaties signed with Indian Nations, courts are supposed to apply any of five specific canons of construction relating to the field of Indian Affairs. Through an examination of the Supreme Court’s cases involving statutory or treaty interpretation relating to Indian nations since 1987, this Article demonstrates that the Court has generally been faithful in applying canons relating to treaty interpretation or abrogation. The Court has also respected the canon requiring unequivocal expression of congressional intent before finding an abrogation of tribal sovereign immunity. However, there are two other canons that the Court almost never applies. One requires clear intent to interfere with tribal sovereign rights, the other requires statutes to be construed liberally with ambiguities resolved to the benefit of Indians. After reviewing the possible reasons why textualist jurists might be opposed to the use of substantive canons, this Article makes two arguments to remedy any reluctance to use these two canons: First, these canons have constitutional roots and as such even textualists on the Court should not be reluctant to use them. Secondly, the canon applicable to abrogation of tribal sovereign immunity should also be applied to statutes interfering with tribal sovereign rights. There are no normative reasons to treat abrogation of sovereign immunity differently than other statutory interference with tribal sovereignty.
Christiana Ochoa has posted “Nature’s Rights,” forthcoming in the Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, on SSRN.
Do forests and rivers possess standing to sue? Do mountain ranges have substantive rights? A recent issue of The Judges’ Journal, a preeminent publication for American judges, alerts the bench, bar, and policymakers to the rapidly emerging “rights of nature,” predicting that state and federal courts will increasingly see claims asserting such rights. Within the United States, Tribal law has begun to legally recognize the rights of rivers, mountains, and other natural features. Several municipalities across the United States have also acted to recognize the rights of nature. United States courts have not yet addressed the issue, though in 2017, a Colorado District Court dismissed a suit claiming rights for the Colorado River ecosystem. Meanwhile, fourteen foreign countries have extended standing and substantive rights to nature, and that number is growing quickly. This international trend matters because U.S. Supreme Court Justices, including Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, have argued that American courts should note and address cutting-edge legal developments in foreign jurisdictions.
This Article provides the key foundational and theoretical basis for recognizing the rights of nature. It explores the intellectual and precedential basis for accepting nature’s rights, surveying developments in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and providing the only comprehensive survey of all legal systems that currently recognize such rights. It traces the geographic, theoretical, and practical development of the idea of nature’s rights, illustrating that human thought regarding the intrinsic value and rights of nature has evolved significantly since our common law on the issue was established. This Article thus provides the intellectual, moral, and philosophical grounding for students, clerks, judges, and lawmakers facing questions about extending rights to nature.