Southern California Tribes Sue over Border Wall

Here is the complaint in Manzanita Band of the Kumayaay Nation (D.D.C.):

1 Complaint

Ninth Circuit Rejects Oklevueha NAC Religious Freedom Claims to Cannibis

Here is the opinion in Oklevueha Native American Church v. Lynch.

From the syllabus:

The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of federal officials, and held that the district court properly denied the plaintiffs – Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii, Inc. and its founder, Michael Rex “Raging Bear” Mooney – an exemption from federal laws prohibiting the possession and distribution of cannabis.
Concerning plaintiffs’ claimed violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the panel held that even assuming that plaintiffs’ use of cannabis constituted an “exercise of religion,” no rational trier of fact could conclude on the record that a prohibition of cannabis use imposed a “substantial burden” on plaintiffs’ exercise of religion. Specifically, the panel held that nothing in the record demonstrated that a prohibition on cannabis forced plaintiffs to choose between obedience to their religion and criminal sanction, such that they were being coerced to act contrary to their religious beliefs; and this was fatal to their claim. The panel also held that plaintiffs’ admission that cannabis was merely a substitute for peyote also distinguished their case from Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S. Ct. 853 (2015) (holding that there was a Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act violation where the prison’s refusal to grant a Muslim inmate a religious exemption to grow a half-inch beard forced him to choose between a violation of his religious beliefs or face serious disciplinary action).

Briefs here.

Tenth Circuit Issues Prison Sweat Lodge Decision; Religious Freedom Upheld

Here are the materials in Yellowbear v. Lampert:

Yellowbear Brief

Yellowbear Supplemental Brief

Wyoming Brief

Yellowbear Reply

CA10 Opinion

An excerpt:

Andrew Yellowbear will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Time he must serve for murdering his daughter. With that much lying behind and still before him, Mr. Yellowbear has found sustenance in his faith. No one doubts the sincerity of his religious beliefs or that they are the reason he seeks access to his prison’s sweat lodge — a house of prayer and meditation the prison has supplied for those who share his Native American religious tradition. Yet the prison refuses to open the doors of that sweat lodge to Mr. Yellowbear alone, and so we have this litigation. While those convicted of crime in our society lawfully forfeit a great many civil liberties, Congress has (repeatedly) instructed that the sincere exercise of religion should not be among them — at least in the absence of  a compelling reason. In this record we can find no reason like that.


Navajo Nation v. US Forest Service Cert Petition

from SCOTUSblog:

Yesterday, the Stanford clinic filed this cert. petition in Navajo Nation v. U.S. Forest Service, dealing with the circumstances in which governmental action may constitute a “substantial burden” under RFRA.  Jeff Fisher is counsel of record in the case; he was ably assisted by Stanford students Jaime Huling Delaye, Scott Noveck, David Schwartz, and David Muraskin.