Article Published by ABA, Enforcing Tribal Environmental Laws without “Treatment as a State”

Jill Grant has published an article on the Navajo Nation’s innovative petroleum storage tank inspection and enforcement program. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act lacks a “treatment as a state” provision for Tribes, but the Navajo Nation has found other ways to develop a noteworthy program that enhances environmental protection, Tribal sovereignty, and self-determination.

Link to article here.

ABA’s Ranking of Judicial Candidates More Likely to Disadvantage Women and Minorities

NY Times article here.

Original study here.

Article abstract:

This article uses two newly collected data sets to investigate the reliance by political actors on the external vetting of judicial candidates, in particular vetting conducted by the nation’s largest legal organization, the American Bar Association (ABA). Using these data, I show that minority and female nominees are more likely than whites and males to receive lower ratings, even after controlling for education, experience, and partisanship via matching. These discrepancies are important for two reasons. First, as I show, receiving poor ABA ratings is correlated with confirmation failure. Second, I demonstrate that ABA ratings do not actually predict whether judges will be “better” in terms of reversal rates. Taken together, these findings complicate the ABA’s influential role in judicial nominations, both in terms of setting up possible barriers against minority and female candidates and also in terms of its actual utility in predicting judicial performance.

Resolutions Favoring Indian Child Welfare Act

Here is the resolution adopted unanimously by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges board:

NCJFCJ ICWA Resolution 2013

And here is a draft resolution up for consideration at the American Bar Association later this summer:

ICWA Resolution and Rpt Amended 7-3-13 Revised

Study Suggests ABA Assessment of Judicial Nominees Biased against Women and Minorities

The study is here, hat tip to the Monkey Cage, a great site. I should say historically biased, since the study goes back to 1960.

The abstract:

This paper uses two new datasets to investigate the reliance by political actors on the external vetting of judicial candidates, in particular vetting conducted by the nation’s largest legal organization, the American Bar Association (ABA). First, I demonstrate that poorly rated lower-court nominees are signi cantly more likely to have their nominations fail before the Senate. However, I also show that minority and female nominees are more likely than whites and males to receive these lower ratings, even after controlling for education, experience, and partisanship via matching. Furthermore, by presenting results showing that ABA ratings are unrelated to judges’ ultimate reversal rates, I show that these scores are a poor predictor of how nominees perform once con fimed. The fi ndings in this paper complicate the ABA’s influential role in judicial nominations, both in terms of its utility in predicting judicial performance and also in terms of possible implicit biases against minority candidates, and suggest that political actors rely on these ratings perhaps for reasons unrelated to the courts.

An excerpt:

Despite attempts by Presidents and by advocacy groups, federal courts in the United States are still unreflective of the U.S. population. Of the 874 federal judges in service as of 2008, only 24% were women, 10% were African American, and 7% were Hispanic …. Fewer than 1% were Asian American and, even today, there are no federal judges who self-identify as Native American — surprising given the courts’ involvement in interpreting federal Indian laws.

 

 

ABA approves resolution to strengthen tribal jurisdiction

I heard from a listserv that the ABA has approved a resolution to strengthen tribal jurisdiction specifically over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence and that the resolution also urges that the reauthorization of VAWA include the tribal jurisdiction provisions.

While I was not able to find the text of the resolution on the ABA website, I did find this list of additional and late resolutions on the ABA site (see bottom of page): 2012_hod_annual_meeting_late_resolutions.authcheckdam

Arlinda Locklear to be Honored by ABA with Margaret Brent Award

Here and here.

Congratulations to Arlinda!

Here is her bio (from the ABA website):

Arlinda Locklear, of Arlinda Locklear Law Office in Washington, D.C., began her career as an attorney at the Native American Rights Fund.  During her 35-year career in federal Indian law, she has represented tribes throughout the country in federal and state courts on treaty claims to water and land, taxation disputes with states and local authorities, reservation boundary issues, and federal recognition of tribes.  In 1984, Locklear appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, where she successfully challenged South Dakota’s authority to prosecute a Native American for on-reservation conduct.  In doing so, she was the first Native American woman to appear before the Court.  Since that time, five other Native American women have argued before the Supreme Court.  Her goal always is to give back to her community and other Native American communities, and Locklear has received numerous awards for fostering the development of women, among them a 2008 honor for her contributions to the American Indian community by the Conference of American Indian Women of Proud Nations.

Other recipients include:

  • The Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, Supreme Court of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Marcia Devins Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center, Washington, DC
  • Joan M. Hall, Retired Partner, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, IL
  • Arlinda Locklear, Attorney, Arlinda Locklear Law Office, Washington, DC
  • Amy W. Schulman, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Pfizer, President of Pfizer Nutrition, New York, NY