Federal Court Rejects Spirit Lake Tribe’s Voting Rights Effort

Here are the materials in Spirit Lake Tribe v. Jaeger (D. N.D.):

9 Motion for TRO

Doc. 33 Order Denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 2018.11.01 (00196925x9D7F5)

Complaint here.

Eighth Circuit Briefs in Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. v. Seaworth [formerly Burr]


MHA Nation Judicial Officers Brief

HRC Brief

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Holds North Dakota Voter ID Law Has “Discriminatory and Burdensome Impact on Native Americans”

Here are the materials in Brakebill v. Jaeger (D.N.D.):

81 Motion to Dissolve PI

92 plaintiffs’ memorandum in support re motion for preliminary injunction

94 State Reply

98 Plaintiff Reply

99 DCT Order

NARF Presser here:

Court Bars Sections of ND Voter ID Law
Citing “Discriminatory and Burdensome Impact on Native Americans”

April 4, 2018 (Bismarck, ND) – Yesterday, plaintiffs achieved a substantial victory when Judge Daniel L. Hovland of the U.S. District Court of North Dakota (ND), filed an order granting in significant part plaintiff’s motion for second preliminary injunction in Brakebill, et al. v. Jaeger. Citing the “public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one,” Hovland’s order prohibits the enforcement of discriminatory parts of ND’s voter ID law. Additionally, the order allows P.O. box addresses—prevalent in Native American communities—to be used to prove residency, and dramatically expands the types of ID available to voters at the polls to include any document, letter, writing, enrollment card, or other form of tribal identification issued by a tribal authority to be used in lieu of ID cards, until final resolution of the case.

This is the second time Judge Hovland has found North Dakota’s voter ID law discriminates against Native Americans, and it is the second preliminary injunction granted to plaintiffs in this matter. Following the Judge’s last order in 2016, the North Dakota Legislature tried to circumvent the requirements of the order by passing a new law, HB 1369, which intentionally excluded Native American voters living on rural reservations that lacked residential addresses by failing to provide any way for them to prove residency in order to vote. Judge Hovland found “The State has acknowledged that Native American communities often lack residential street addresses . . . Nevertheless, under current State law an individual who does not have a ‘current residential street address’ will never be qualified to vote. This is a clear ‘legal obstacle’ inhibiting the opportunity to vote.” (emphasis in original)

According to Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Voting Rights Fellow Jacqueline De León, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case, “Judge Hovland got it. He detailed the unfair nature of the state’s law and again recognized that the law created significant and unnecessary voting obstacles for Native voters in North Dakota. Laws such as these are a direct threat to the functioning of our democracy.”

Judge Hovland’s order also expands the valid forms of voter identification to include documents issued by tribal governments, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other tribal agencies. “This distinction is significant because putting that control back in the hands of tribal organizations allows tribal governments to ensure that their citizens do not continue to be disenfranchised,” explains lead attorney on the case, NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell.

Although the case will continue, with this order, the Judge has prevented the discriminatory voter ID law from disenfranchising Native voters in significant part until final determination is made in the matter. As Judge Hovland explains in his order, “common sense and a sense of fairness can easily remedy the above-identified problems to ensure that all residents of North Dakota, including the homeless as well as those who live on the reservations, will have an equal and meaningful opportunity to vote.”

The plaintiffs in Brakebill, et al. v. Jaeger are represented by the Native American Rights Fund, Richard de Bodo of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Tom Dickson of the Dickson Law Office.


Federal Court Excuses Additional Tribal Court Exhaustion in Oil/Gas Flaring Dispute at Fort Berthold

Here are the materials in Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. v. Burr (D.N.D.):

29-2 mha trial court opinion

29-9 mha nation supreme court opinion

30 kodiak motion for pi

45 tribal judge motion to dismiss

46 burr response to motion for pi

48 tribal judge response to motion for pi

54 kodiak reply in support of motion for pi

59 hrc motion for pi

62 tribal judge reply in support of mtd

64 hrc response to mtd

66 tribal judge response to hrc motion

68 dct order

Federal Court Denies Reconsideration and Grants Attorney Fees in Enerplus v. Wilkinson

Here are the new materials in Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation v. Wilkinson (D.N.D.):

94 Motion for Reconsideration

96 Response

98 Enerplus Motion for Atty Fees

101 Response to Motion for Atty Fees

104 Reply in Support of Motion for Atty Fees

105 DCT Order

Prior posts here.

Federal Court Rejects Effort to Enforce Settlement Agreement in Tribal Court

Here are the materials in Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation v. Wilkinson (D.N.D.):

78 Motion for Summary J

84 Response

85 Reply

91 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Given the forum selection clauses in the Settlement Agreement, the ORRI Assignment, and the Division Orders, the Tribal Court clearly lacks jurisdiction over the case. The record before this Court clearly establishes that every party to the dispute agreed to the forum selection clauses at issue. Thus, Enerplus is entitled to a declaratory judgment that the forum selection clauses at issue preclude the Tribal Court from exercising jurisdiction over any dispute arising from those documents, and preclude Wilkinson from asserting in Tribal Court any claims arising from, and related to those documents.

CA8 materials here.