Washington COA Rejects Makah Challenge to State Land Exchange (and Three Tribes’ Effort to Stop the Whole Thing)

Here are the materials in Makah Indian Tribe v. Commissioner of Public Lands (Wash. Ct. App.):

D2 54945-0-II Unpublished Opinion

Makah Reply

State Response to Hoh-Quiluete-Quinault Amicus Brief

Makah Answer to Hoh-Quiluete-Quinault Amicus Brief

[missing from the court’s website are the initial briefs of the tribe and state, and the Hoh-Quiluete-Quinault amicus brief]

An excerpt:

The Makah Indian Tribe appeals the superior court’s order denying a constitutional writ to block a land exchange proposed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and approved by the Board of Natural Resources. The land exchange, called the “Peninsula Exchange,” would exchange state forestlands with forestlands owned by a private timber company, Merrill & Ring. The Peninsula Exchange parcels border tribal lands of a number of Indian tribes, including the Makah, the Hoh, the Quileute, and the Quinault. The Makah argue that DNR violated (1) the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) by failing to conduct a SEPA environmental review prior to approval of the proposal and (2) the public lands management statute, Title 79 RCW, by insufficiently addressing the Makah’s concerns.
The Hoh, Quileute, and Quinault Tribes (the Amici Tribes) filed a joint amicus curiae brief requesting dismissal under CR 19, arguing that they are necessary and indispensable parties who cannot be joined due to their sovereign immunity. The Amici Tribes claim that the Peninsula Exchange parcels are part of their respective treaty hunting areas. The Makah argue that the Amici Tribes are not necessary and indispensable parties under CR 19 because this appeal can be decided without a determination of treaty rights of various tribes as the Makah’s claims are procedural challenges to DNR’s Peninsula Exchange.
Because we resolve this appeal without implicating the treaty rights of the various interested tribes, we hold that the Amici Tribes are not necessary or indispensable parties. Accordingly, dismissal of this appeal under CR 19 is not appropriate.
DNR’s interpretation of the SEPA categorical exemption is entitled to substantial weight and its determination that a land exchange is categorically exempt from SEPA review will be overturned only if it is clearly erroneous. We hold that DNR properly interpreted and applied the SEPA categorical exemption for state land exchanges to determine that the Peninsula Exchange was categorially exempt from SEPA review and that DNR’s finding that the Peninsula Exchange was exempt from SEPA was not clearly erroneous. Additionally, DNR complied with the public lands management statute by adequately consulting with the Makah prior to the Board’s approval of the Peninsula Exchange. Because the superior court’s decision was not manifestly unreasonable, or exercised on untenable grounds or for untenable reasons, we hold that the superior court did not abuse its discretion by denying the Makah a constitutional writ. We affirm.

Wisconsin Federal Court Holds Tax Immunities Do Not Apply to Reacquired Reservation Land

Here are the relevant materials in Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Evers (W.D. Wis.):

153 State Motion for Summary J

171 Towns and Assessors Motion for Summary J

172 Tribe Motion for Summary J

213 Tribe Response to 171

215 Tribe Response to 153

223 State Reply in Support of 153

228 Towns and Assessors Reply in Support of 171

232 Tribe Reply in Support of 172

245 DCT Order

Prior post here.

Cert Petition in Seneca Nation Citizen’s Treaty-Based Tax Immunity Claim

Here is the petition in Perkins v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue:

Perkins v. Commissioner Cert Petition

Question presented:

This Court is presented with a question of first impression, as to the taxability of income derived from the sale of sand and gravel, mined from treatyprotected land by an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians (“Seneca Nation”). Upon the granting of certiorari, the Court will examine the language in two federal treaties, promising not to disturb the “free use and enjoyment” of lands by the Seneca Nation and “their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them,” and protecting these lands “from all taxes” for any purpose. Treaty with the Six Nations (“Canandaigua Treaty”), art. III, Nov. 11, 1794, 7 Stat. 45; Treaty with the Senecas (“1842 Treaty”), art. 9th, May 20, 1842, 7 Stat. 590. Congress has explicitly stated the Internal Revenue Code “shall be applied to any taxpayer with due regard to any treaty obligation of the United States which applies to such taxpayer.” 26 U.S.C.A. § 894 (a)(1)(West).

The question presented is whether the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Tax Court have given “due regards” to the treaty obligations of the United States by finding these treaties had no textual support for an exemption from federal income tax applicable to an enrolled Seneca member whose income is derived from the
lands of the Seneca Nation. Perkins v. Comm’r, 970 F.3d 148, 162-67 (2d. Cir. 2020).

Lower court materials here.

UPDATE (5/1/21):

Starna Amicus Brief

Hazen Shopbell’s Federal Civil Rights Claims Dismissed

Here are materials in Shopbell v. Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (W.D. Wash.):

86-0 Defendants’ Second Motion for Summary Judgment

94 Plaintiffs’ Response in Opposition to Defendants’ Third Motion for Summary Judgment

99 Defendants’ Reply in Support of Its Second Motion for Summary Judgment

115 DCT Order

Prior post here.

The Superior Court dismissed criminal shellfish trafficking charges against him because a Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife detective destroyed exculpatory evidence.  Watch the hearing here: https://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2021011188. Here are the briefs in State of Washington v. Shopbell:

Amended Opening Brief of Appellant Skagit County

Brief of Respondents Hazen Shopbell and Anthony Paul

Reply Brief of Appellant Skagit County

Ninth Circuit Materials in Snoqualmie Tribe v. State of Washington

Briefs:

Samish Brief

Samish Reply

Sauk-Suiattle Amicus Brief

Snoqualmie Brief

Snoqualmie Reply

State Response Brief

Treaty Tribes Amicus Brief

Tulalip Amicus Brief

Lower court materials here.

Eighth Circuit Holds OSHA Does Not Apply to Red Lake Treaty Fishing Activities

Here is the opinion in Scalia v. Red Lake Nation Fisheries Inc.:

CA8 Opinion

Briefs here.

Federal Court Dismisses Pro Se Treaty Rights Complaint against State and Sault Tribe

Here are the materials in Hall v. Whitmer (E.D. Mich.):

1 Pro Se Complaint

13 Sault Tribe Motion to Dismiss

15 Response to 13

19 Reply

20 State Motion for Summary Judgment

23 Response to 20

24 Reply

27 Magistrate Report re 13

28 Magistrate Report re 20

30 Objections

32 DCT Order