SCOTUSBlog (Ronald Mann) Preview of Patchak v. Zinke


An excerpt, and a little horn tooting:

The most telling argument for the government is the recitation (in an amicus brief filed by a group of law professors) of the dozens of statutes Congress has adopted through the centuries resolving Indian land disputes and dealing high-handedly with Indian lands. It is notable that Bank Markazi emphasized Congress’ supreme authority over foreign affairs in its rejection of the Klein claim in that case. Congress’ plenary authority to regulate and protect Indian tribes leaves room for a similar resolution of this case without explicitly rejecting the Klein rule. Bank Markazi of course said nothing about Congress’s power over Indian affairs, so that result wouldn’t really follow from Bank Markazi. It would, though, afford the justices a way to decide the case narrowly, which seems to have been their goal in these cases. The key thing to watch for in the argument will be any sense that any of the members of the Bank Markazi majority show a willingness to treat this case differently than they did that one.

You can read that amicus brief here, along with the rest of the briefs

Patchak v. Zinke Background Materials

Here are the merits briefs:

Patchak Merits Brief

Joint Appendix

US Merits Brief

Gun Lake Merits Brief

Patchak Merits Reply

Here are the amicus briefs:

Federal Courts Scholars Brief in Support of Petitioners

Fed. Cts. and Indian Law Scholars in Support of Respondents

Brief Amici Curiae of Wayland Township, et al. in Support of Respondents

Brief for the U.S. House of Representatives as Amicus Curiae Supporting Respondents

Brief Amicus Curiae of National Congress of American Indians in Support of Respondents

Brief Amicus Curiae of Professor Edward A Hartnett in Support of Respondents

Here are the cert stage briefs:

Patchak Cert Petition

Federal Cert Opp

Gun Lake Cert Opp

Patchak Reply

Here are the D.C. Circuit materials:


Patchak Opening Brief

Tribe Response Brief

US Response Brief

Patchak Reply Brief

District court materials:

Patchak v Jewell – Gun Lake Tribe (Judge Leon Opinion)

78 Gun Lake Tribe Motion for Summary J

80-1 Patchak Motion for Summary J

85 US Opposition

86 Gun Lake Tribe Opposition

87 Patchak Opposition to Gun Lake Tribe Motion

88 Gun Lake Tribe Reply

90 Patchak Reply

Legislative materials:

Senate Hearing

House Report

Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act

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

Hopi Tribe

Chief Prosecutor. Responsible for the executive and administrative control of the Tribal Prosecutor’s Office, as well as prosecuting crimes committed within the Hopi Reservation and its boundaries, and prosecuting delinquency and minor child in need of care petitions.

Probation Officer. Manages a case load and enforces court ordered probationary sentences by supervising and monitoring probationers under the direct supervision of the Chief Probation Officer. The incumbent performs paraprofessional duties requiring knowledge and skill in assessments, investigation, counseling, and supervision of probationers.

Deputy General Counsel. Provides professional legal counsel and representation to the Hopi Tribal government – including the legislative and executive branches of the Hopi Tribe, the administrative departments, offices, and programs – as specified by the Tribal Council and the General Council.

Licensed Deputy Prosecutor. Performs professional legal work in prosecuting criminal offense, juvenile offenses, and certain civil cases in the Hopi Tribal Courts, including legal research and preparation of Court documents; response to citizen inquiries relating to tribal court procedures and violations of Tribal laws prosecuted in Tribal Court.

Link: Hopi Tribe job listings and application details

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians

Tribal Court Clerk. Grant Funded Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Grant – Bureau of Justice Assistant. Three (3) year temporary grant project. Projected End Date: 9/30/2018. Funding may be available at the end of the grant to sustain this position. Closes 8/7/2017.

Legal Services of South Central Michigan

Paid Law Clerk, Lansing. Students who have completed their first year in law
school are welcome to apply.

Pueblo of Laguna

Attorney. Under general direction of Government Affairs Director, serves as an in-house legal adviser, representative, and counselor. Ensures the adherence to applicable laws to protect and enhance tribal sovereignty, to avoid or prevent expensive legal disputes and litigation, and to protect the legal interests of the Pueblo government. Consistently applies the Pueblo’s Core Values in support of Workforce Excellence. Maintains confidentiality of all privileged information.

National Indian Gaming Commission

Financial Analyst, Washington, D.C. Will review and analyze complex financial data, reconcile general ledger, coordinate budget process, calculate fees and various user charge rates, and prepare reports and analyses which are critical to the agency’s financial operations. The incumbent may work with various Divisions and other programs of the agency to carry out duties.

Link: 7/28/17 Friday Job Announcements

Gun Lake Tribe to Release Lake Sturgeon into Kalamazoo River

WHO: Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians; Michigan Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Kalamazoo River Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow.

WHAT: Public celebration / release of juvenile sturgeon into the Kalamazoo River.

WHEN: Monday, August 29, 2016 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

WHERE: New Richmond Bridge County Park, 5700 Old Allegan Road, Hamilton, Mich.  Google Maps click here                            

DETAILS: The Gun Lake Tribe has organized an annual release of lake sturgeon into the Kalamazoo River.  Participating parties include the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and the Kalamazoo River chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow.  The 8-inch sturgeon set for release were reared in a streamside hatchery and will be hand-released back into the river.

Sturgeon, or Nmé in Pottawatomi, is culturally important to the Tribe as the fish represents an animal clan in traditional beliefs.  Sturgeon clan people have spiritual knowledge offered as guidance to others and they live to an old age, just like lake sturgeon.  The rehabilitation of lake sturgeon is a reflection of the Tribe’s present-day progression as a community and a tribal government.

A welcome will be provided by Chairperson Leah Sprague-Fodor.  Tribal youth drum group, ThunderBuddies, will perform.  Also taking part in the ceremony are tribal elders John Bush, Punkin and Dave Shananaquet, and Miss Potawatomi Mary Bush.  The event will also include hatchery tours and light dinner for up to 200 people in attendance.  The general public is encouraged to attend this event.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Binoniemi-Smith (269) 397-1780 (office), (616) 885-2155 (on-site)