Supreme Court Denies Cert in Carter v. Washburn (Sweeney) [ICWA Class Action]

Here is the order. Here is the case page.

This should be the end of this litigation (the original 2015 “Goldwater case”), as the Ninth Circuit vacated and remanded the case below to have it dismissed as moot.

CTFC Press Release on Dismissal of Goldwater (ICWA) Lawsuit

FINAL Release – ICWA Again Survives Challenge by Fringe Group

The California Tribal Families Coalition, a coalition of tribes and tribal leaders, this week applauded the recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss an ill-conceived challenge against the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) arising from claims in Arizona by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative fringe anti-ICWA group.

The Aug. 6 dismissal marks the end of the latest in a series of cases brought by the group against ICWA as part of a years-long, systematic and disturbing effort to undermine the 40-year-old federal statute that protects Indian children. To date, the Goldwater Institute has failed in its every attempt to upend ICWA.

Despite the encouraging dismissal, the Sacramento-based California Tribal Families Coalition (CTFC) also warned of additional, pending attacks that seek to unwind ICWA and the decades of critical legal protections it has provided against separating tribal children from their families and tribal communities.

This release is discussing the Goldwater litigation, which was the first major attempt to get ICWA declared unconstitutional. Both Navajo Nation and the Gila River Indian Community intervened in this case involving tribal children.

Since 2015, there have been nine federal lawsuits attacking ICWA directly on constitutional groups. There is on-going litigation directly attacking ICWA and tribal court jurisdiction in the Eighth Circuit and the Northern District of Texas.

Rod Lewis (PLSI ‘69) Walks On

Here is “Negotiator on Gila River water rights settlement dies.

And “Gila River Indian Community mourns death of tribal leader.

From Mario Gonzales:

Rod Lewis was married to my cousin Willardene Poor Bear-Lewis.  I started law school  with him in a pre-law program for Indian students at the University of New Mexico School of Law in the Summer of 1969.  Rod enrolled in the UCLA Law School and I enrolled in the University of North Dakota School of law in the fall of 1969 and we both graduated from law school in 1972.

I would like to mention a few of our classmates from the UNM School of Law summer law program of 1969 who went on the have distinguished careers:  Tom Fredericks, John Sinclair, Richard Trudell, Ralph Keen, George Goodwin, John Oguin, Gary Kimble, and Phil LaCourse.  Movie actor and musician Floyd Westerman was also one of our classmates.

Richard Trudell arranged for us to attend two Indian law classes at the Catholic University School of Law in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 1971.  Graham Belle was our law professor (he was related to Alexander Graham Belle — inventor of the telephone).  Trudell wanted us to get some exposure to the roles law firms, federal agencies and Congress play in Indian affairs on a national level.

Rod Lewis got a job with the Interior Department and I got a job with the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Kampleman at the Watergate 600.  We worked during the day and attended Graham Belle’s Indian law classes in the evening.  Rod liked to tease and would sometimes call me and pretend he was someone else, and we would sometimes have lunch together at the Interior Department cafeteria with other Indian law students.

I also recall that my wife and I (and our three children) had trouble finding a place to rent for the summer and Rod and Willardene invited us to stay with them in Reston, Virginia until we could find our own place to rent.

Richard Trudell and Alan Parker started the American Indian Lawyer Training Program (AILTP) and began publishing the Indian Law Reporter, one of our main sources of Indian law in the 1970s.  Trudell and Parker also started a program to get four newly graduated Indian lawyers into private practice and selected four individuals for the program:  Rod Lewis (Gila River), Louis Denetsosie (Navajo), Larry Echohawk (Pawnee) and I (Oglala Sioux).

Trudell and Parker also set up a class for the four of us on law office management in Los Angeles, California with LA attorney Jay Foonberg as our instructor.  Rod set up his law office in Sacaton, Arizona and I set mine up in Martin, S.D.  in 1975.

In 19778, I became an Oglala Sioux tribal attorney and moved to Pine Ridge, S.D.  Louis Denetsosie set up his law office in Ft. Defiance, Arizona and I believe Larry Echohawk set up his law office in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Louis later became the attorney General of the Navajo Nation and Larry became the Attorney General of the State of Idaho.  And Rod, of course, became one of the nation’s outstanding Indian litigators and Indian water rights expert.

I would like to close by saying that I have always been so proud of Rod Lewis and his accomplishments in Indian law and the accomplishment of his family members; Willardene also became an attorney and an administrative law judge, and their son Steven is now serving as Governor of the Gila River Tribe.

Ninth Circuit Briefing in A.D. v. Washburn (Tahsuda)(Goldwater Case)

This is the appeal of the dismissal of the case in the federal District of Arizona purporting to represent all Native children in foster care in Arizona and their non-Indian foster parents or adoptive placements. The Goldwater Institute appealed the dismissal ot the Ninth Circuit.

20_Opening Brief_09-01-2017




53 – Goldwater Reply Brief




Arizona COA Vacates Gila River Member’s Conviction for Crime Committed Entirely On-Rez, Affirms Conviction for Fleeing Police

Here is the unpublished opinion in State v. Carpio (Ariz. Ct. App.):

State v Carpio

An excerpt:

Manuel Carpio appeals his convictions and sentences for one count of disorderly conduct and one count of unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle. Carpio, a member of the Gila River Indian Community (the Community), argues the superior court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the disorderly conduct offense because he committed it entirely within the Gila River Indian Reservation (the Reservation). He also argues the superior court did not have personal jurisdiction because he was removed from the Reservation in violation of tribal extradition procedures after he was pursued onto the Reservation following a “hot pursuit” that began in the City of Chandler (the City). For the following reasons, we vacate Carpio’s conviction and sentence for disorderly conduct and affirm his conviction and sentence for unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle.

Ninth Circuit Decides US v. Gila River Irrigation District

Here are the materials, including the opinion:

USA v Gila Valley Irrigation District Opinion

US Opening Brief

GRIC and SCAT Appellants Brief

Freeport Minerals Brief

Irrigation Districts Brief

US Reply

San Carlos Apache Tribe Reply

Gila River Indian Community Reply Brief

Freeport Minerals Reply

Amicus Brief Supporting Appellees

Appellees Supplemental Brief

Appellants Supplemental Brief

Ninth Circuit Materials in Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children v. Federal Highway Administration

Here are the briefs:

Gila River Indian Community Opening Brief

Tohono O’odham Nation Amicus Brief

State Brief

Federal Brief

Lower court order:

132 DCT Order

Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law job posted on Turtle Talk, please email

National Indian Gaming Commission

Financial Analyst, Washington D.C.  Closes 10/13/2016.

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

Public Defender, Tribal Court.  Open until filled.

Gila River Indian Community

Supervising Protective Services Attorney, Office of General Counsel (originally posted 9/16/2016). New closing date 10/18/2016.

Protective Services Attorney, Office of General Counsel (originally posted 9/16/2016). Now two positions available with new closing date of 10/18/2016.

Hualapai Tribe

Judge, Wellness Court. Open until filled.

Clerk Coordinator, Wellness Court. Open until filled.

Probation Officer, Wellness Court. Open until filled.