U. Chi. Law Review Podcast on the Murphy/McGirt Cases

Here is “Briefly 3.10 – Is Half of Oklahoma Tribal Land?”

From the site:

This is Briefly, a production of the University of Chicago Law Review. Today we are discussing two cases pending before the Supreme Court, which will determine whether roughly half of the land in Oklahoma is actually an Indian Reservation . We’re joined by Elizabeth Reese, a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law. Music from bensound.com.

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Cases Involving Nottawaseppi Huron Band Potawatomi, Chippewa-Cree, and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes

Here is today’s order list.

The Court denied cert in Sequoia Capital Operations LLC v. Gingras; Spurr v. Pope; and Alabama-Coushatta Tribe v. Texas.

Cert Petition in McMahon v. Chemehuevi Indian Tribe

Here is the petition:

cert-petition.pdf

appendix.pdf

Questions presented:

1. Under Barker v. Harvey, 181 U.S. 481 (1901) and United States v. Title Insurance & Trust Co., 265 U.S. 472 (1924), did the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe’s failure to file a land claim under the 1851 Act extinguish any of the Tribe’s rights as to Section 36 as conveyed to the State of California for school purposes under the Enabling Act of 1853?

2. Given that this Court has found that states take title to property under the Enabling Acts subject to aboriginal title only where a preexisting treaty has preserved the aboriginal title, does the absence of any Chemehuevi Indian Tribe reservation at the time Section 36 was conveyed to the State of California under the Enabling Act of 1853 bar any claim by the Tribe or its members that Section 36 constitutes Indian country?

3. Does the Appropriation Doctrine bar any claim by the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe or its members that the 1907 Secretarial Order could transfer Section 36 to the Tribe after the property had already been conveyed to the State of California for school purposes under the Enabling Act of 1853?

Lower court materials here.

Top 10 American Indian Law Cases of 2019

It was a busy 2018 Term at the Supreme Court. Here are the top cases (although the top case is not a Supreme Court case):

1. Brackeen v. Bernhardt — This has to be the top case, even beating out three Supreme Court cases. Foundational doctrines of Indian law are at stake, state governments are facing off against the United States, and virtually every Indian tribe has affirmed support for the Indian Child Welfare Act. After expedited briefing and argument, the Fifth Circuit reversed a decision striking down ICWA. Now the court will rehear Brackeen en banc.

2. Sharp v. Murphy (formerly Carpenter v. Murphy) — This case captured the attention of Indian country more for the procedural drama (never thought those two words would ever go together) than the merits. A death penalty appeal in which the parties (state, tribe, guy-on-death-row, and US) barely mention that fact, Murphy is a reservation boundaries case that makes for exciting, if not accurate, media (Oklahoma could return to Indian reservation status!). The parties sparred at oral argument, the Court asked for more briefing, the This Land podcast went national, the end of the Term approached, and then . . . nothing. The apparent 4-4 tie of the justices led the Court to push the case to the next Term, and then more nothing. Now the Court has granted cert in McGirt v. Oklahoma, likely to decide the same issues as Murphy but with a full complement of judges.

3. Herrera v. Wyoming — The Court ruled 5-4 that the 1868 treaty right to hunt on unoccupied lands applied to the lands of the Bighorn National Forest. The Court also conclusively overruled Ward v. Racehorse, an ancient decision holding that statehood could abrogate treaty rights.

4. Washington State Dept. of Licensing v. Cougar Den — The Court ruled 5-4, but with no majority opinion, that a treaty right to travel on highways preempted a state tax on fuels moving through grounds transportation (or alternatively, granted a right to move goods without state interference).

The rest of the cases are lower court matters ranked by number of views on Turtle Talk. Here they are:

5. Williams v. Big Picture Loans — The Fourth Circuit ruled that tribal sovereign immunity applies to tribally owned businesses that conduct internet lending operations.

6. Swinomish Tribe v. BNSF — This case is pending before the Ninth Circuit. It received outsized attention because of an order by the panel to BNSF requiring it to explain how its characterization of legal authorities, the record, and the arguments of the tribe met its duty of candor to the court.

7. Free v. Dellinger — This case in the Western District of Oklahoma sought an order enjoining tribal jurisdiction over a nonmember. The case likely received a bunch of hits because that nonmember was Kalyn Free.

8. Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners — The Tenth Circuit last January ordered the defendant to remove a pipeline from Indian lands.

9. Spurr v. Pope — The Sixth Circuit affirmed tribal court jurisdiction to issue a civil PPO against a nonmember under the 2013 VAWA tribal jurisdictional provisions.

10. FMC Corp. v. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes — The Ninth Circuit affirmed tribal jurisdiction over a nonmember, confirming a tribal court judgment involving millions. FMC was represented by a noted SCT practitioner, so expect a serious Supreme Court challenge in 2020.

SCOTUS Grants Cert in McGirt v. Oklahoma [Creek Reservation Boundaries Criminal Appeal]

Here are the cert stage materials in McGirt v. Oklahoma:

mcgirt-cert-petition.pdf

appendix.pdf

oklahoma-brief-in-opposition.pdf

Friday’s order list here.

News coverage here and here.

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria

Here is the order list.

Cert stage materials here.

Lower court materials here.

Kurowski v. Kurowski Cert Petition

Here:

Cert Petition

Appendix

Questions presented:

Upon tribal court exhaustion must District Courts perform a threshold inquiry to protect the Indian Petitioners’ federal 25 U.S.C. § 1302 rights?

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Cert Petition in Gaming Matter

Here is the petition in Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. Texas:

alabama-coushatta-tribe-of-texas-cert-petition.pdf

Questions presented:

Whether IGRA authorizes gaming on tribal lands previously governed by trust statutes that prohibited gaming, as the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Department of the Interior, and the First Circuit have concluded, or not, as the Fifth Circuit has held.

Lower court materials here.

UPDATE:

ncai-amicus-brief.pdf

ysleta-amicus-curiae-brief.pdf

texas-bio.pdf