Freedmen Case Before DC Circuit Court of Appeals

From Indianz.com, via Wampum who caught it before I did. I tend to agree with Judge Steven Russell (who comes from a long line of Cherokee Judges) that the panels’ questions indicate they don’t necessarily believe the Cherokee Nation has to be sued by the Freedmen in order for the Federal Gov’t to enforce the Treaty of 1866. So, if that’s really what the panel is thinking, does that mean the BIA would disallow the 2003 Constitution? Sever the government-to-government relationship with CN until the Freedmen are guaranteed citizenship? Both of the above? And, of course, we shouldn’t get too excited that this will all be resolved anytime soon; whoever is on the losing end of the three judge panel’s decision will move for a rehearing en banc (before the entire Court, including the virulently anti-Indian Judge Janice Rogers Brown); whoever loses that will likely appeal to the US Supreme Court. And if it gets into the hands of this Supreme Court, God help us all. If there’s anyway for the Freedmen, CN AND tribal sovereignty to ALL lose, this Supreme Court will find it.

UPDATE: And speaking of threats to tribal sovereignty, the Smith Administration has succeeded in having the Delaware Tribe stripped of its Federal recognition (and funding), the first time this has happened since the end of the Termination Era.

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Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:20 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Bad news seems to be brewing for Smith, as other tribes appear to be losing their patience with his little crusade, as their own interests, such as healthcare and housing, get trampled upon. Case and point, today’s Indian Country Today articles on the subject.

  2. One would hope, though so far it seems like everyone from the NCAI to Ben Nighthorse Campbell have been quick to jump on the Smith bandwagon, though all that’s really done is graphically demonstrate how little leverage NDNs really have in Congress.

  3. I am new to your blog, and learning fast that there is a whole other world of legal issues, cultural issues, and blogs concerning Native Americans. Thanks for introducing me to it.

    Your current post mentions a judge Steven Russell: There was, a number of years ago, a Steve Russell who was CCL judge in Travis County. Is this the same person?

  4. That is the very same Steve Russell. He’s retired now and teaches law out of State. He may still sit as a judge by assignment, if I remember correctly. A really great guy to talk to, very knowledgeable in tribal law, much more than me.


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