Cert Stage Filings In S.S. v. CRIT (ICWA Case)

This is the cert petition from the Arizona Court of Appeals decision applying ICWA to step-parent or third party adoptions, where Dad attempted to terminate Mom’s rights so Step-Mom could adopt children.

Cert petition filed by the Goldwater Institute purportedly on behalf of the children.

Amicus in Support of the Cert Petition filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation

Brief in Opposition filed by the Colorado River Indian Tribes

Goldwater Reply



Supreme Court Issues Call for Response in Onondaga Land Claims Cert Petition

Here is the docket sheet. The request is dated July 3, 2013. The petition is scheduled for the September 30 “long Conference.” New York has asked for additional time, until September 3, to respond.

Here is the cert petition.

Bardos v. Twenty-Nine Palms Enterprises Corp. Cert Petition


Question Presented:

Absent express federal authorization, the State of California lacks jurisdiction to regulate the licensing
of contractors on the tribal trust land of the Twenty- Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. Neither Public Law 280 nor any other federal law authorizes Call- fornia to so regulate. May a tribal corporation none- theless act as a private attorney general by suing a non-Indian contractor in state court for disgorgement under California Business & Professions Code § 7031(b), for being unlicensed while constructing improvements on tribal trust land in connection with a tribal gaming enterprise?

Previous coverage here.

Onondaga Nation v. New York Petition for Cert


Onondaga Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

Question Presented: Whether the court of appeals’ ruling that equitable considerations bar the Onondaga Nation’s claim for a declaratory judgment for violations of the Trade and Intercourse Act, three federal treaties, and the United States Constitution contravenes the fundamental right to a remedy, international legal norms, principles of federal equity and this Court’s decisions in County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York State, 470 U.S. 266 (1985) and City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation, 544 U.S. 197 (2005).


Cert Petition in Carcieri v. Kempthorne

From Indianz.com:

Rhode Island appeals land-into-trust ruling
Friday, October 19, 2007

The state of Rhode Island is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a land-into-trust case that is being watched by tribes nationwide.

In July, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Bureau of Indian Affairs can place 31 acres in trust for the Narragansett Tribe. The tribe is like any other tribe and can follow the Indian Reorganization Act, which authorized the land-into-trust process, the court said.

As I will argue in my forthcoming article, “Factbound and Splitless: An Empirical Study of the Impact of the Certiorari Process on Federal Indian Law,” the Supreme Court is unlikely to grant cert. in this case for two important reasons. First, there is no circuit split (“splitless”). What that means is that the federal courts of appeal that have addressed the question of the constitutionality of the fee to trust process (25 U.S.C. § 465) — the 8th Circuit in South Dakota v. Kempthorne, the 10th Circuit in Utah v. Shivwits, and the 11th Circuit in Roberts v. U.S., are examples — have held (just as the 1st Circuit did here) that the statute is constitutional.

Second, this case involves the muddying aspects of the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act and how it affects the application of § 465, rendering this case a bit messy as a factual matter (“factbound”). If this was a straight-up interpretation of § 465 without the Settlement Act’s application, the Court would be more likely to grant cert (although, without a split, not so much). In short, this case implicates a relatively small number of tribes (those Rhode Island tribes).

Land-into-Trust Decision:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (July 20, 2007)

Earlier 1st Circuit Decision:
Carcieri v. Norton (February 9, 2005)

Relevant Documents:
Carcieri v. Norton Briefs, Opinions (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe – http://www.narragansett-tribe.org
Tribal Supreme Court Project – http://www.narf.org/sct/index.html