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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

‘Judge Gorsuch Clearly Understands The Tenets Of Indian Law’

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS: ‘Judge Gorsuch Has Significant Experience With Cases Involving The Interests Of Indian Tribes And Indian People’

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): He’s ‘Somebody Who Understands The West… Somebody Who Understands Indian Laws’

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): Judge Gorsuch “does have the fact that he’s a fourth generation Coloradan, avid flyfisher, expert skier, somebody who understands the west, our water laws, somebody who understands our resources laws, somebody who understands Indian laws, and somebody who’s going to be a guardian of the Constitution and interpret the law – not try to make the law.” (“Cory Gardner Talks To 9NEWS About Neil Gorsuch Hearings,” 9News, 3/20/17)

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS: ‘His Opinions Recognize Tribes As Sovereign Governments, And Address Issues Of Significance To Tribes’

NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS AND NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND: “We write on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund to offer our support for the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to become Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Gorsuch hails from the West, with the Tenth Circuit encompassing the territory of 76 federally-recognized Indian tribes. Our organizations, and the Indian tribal governments we represent, have long sought the nomination of Justices with knowledge of federal Indian law, and more generally with experience on western issues such as federal lands and natural resources.” (Bill Cladoosby, NCAI President, John Echohawk, NARF Executive Director, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 3/24/2017)

·         NCAI: “As noted repeatedly during the hearing, Judge Gorsuch has significant experience with cases involving the interests of Indian tribes and Indian people. His opinions recognize Tribes as sovereign governments, and address issues of significance to Tribes, including state police incursion onto tribal lands, sovereign immunity, religious freedom, accounting for trust funds, exhaustion of tribal remedies, and Indian country criminal jurisdiction. Judge Gorsuch appears to be both attentive to the details and respectful to the fundamental principles of tribal sovereignty and the federal trust responsibility…. Based on his experience and record, we have confidence that Judge Gorsuch will be open-minded to all perspectives.” (Bill Cladoosby, NCAI President, John Echohawk, NARF Executive Director, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 3/24/2017)

“Gorsuch joined the 10th Circuit in 2006 and quickly showed signs of his willingness to learn about Indian Country. He attended a [National Congress of American Indians] event in 2007 and John EchoHawk, the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, believes that put the judge on a path that sets him apart from others on the federal bench. ‘As far as anyone Trump could have nominated,’ EchoHawk said at NCAI, ‘I don't think he could have come up with anybody much better than Judge Gorsuch.’” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“John Dossett, NCAI's general counsel, pointed out that Gorsuch listed Yellowbear v. Lampert as one of the 10 most significant cases of his career. In a January 2014 decision, the judge concluded that state prison officials in Wyoming were wrong to deny Andrew Yellowbear, a citizen of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, access to a sweat lodge. ‘Judge Gorsuch has a very good track record,’ Dossett said.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

TRIBES: ‘Judge Gorsuch Is A Distinguished Jurist From The West With A Reputation For Fairly Applying The Law On Issues Important To Us’

NAVAJO NATION President Russell Begaye: “We write to you on behalf of the Navajo Nation to express our support for the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court…. We expect Judge Gorsuch to honor legal precedent, the law established in our Treaty, and our unique trust relationship with the United States … We also expect him to treat us with fairness. Based on Judge Gorsuch’s existing Indian law jurisprudence, we have confidence that he will meet, if not exceed, our expectations.” (Russell Begaye, Navajo Nation President, Letter to Sens. Grassley, Feinstein, McConnell, and Schumer, 3/27/2017)

·         “[W]e are extremely pleased that the Trump Administration has heard from Indian country to appoint to the Supreme Court an individual who has an understanding of Indian Law. Judge Gorsuch clearly understands the tenets of Indian Law that appear to remain elusive to those who have never stepped foot in Indian Country or who have never observed Indian Nations exert, exercise, and defend their sovereign authorities. Yet Judge Gorsuch comes with so much more than that. His Senate testimony and his jurisprudence show that he has both a deep and genuine understanding of and an appreciation for status of Indian Nations as pre-constitutional sovereigns with distinct languages, cultures, laws, and histories … We look forward to having a Justice on the Court who will honor our distinctiveness, and who is willing to observe and appreciate the nuances of our sovereign-to-sovereign relationship with the United States.” (Russell Begaye, Navajo Nation President, Letter to Sens. Grassley, Feinstein, McConnell, and Schumer, 3/27/2017)

SOUTHERN UTE INDIAN TRIBE: “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is writing in support of the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch's considerable qualifications for this most prestigious of appointments are not in question.” (Clement J. Frost, Chairman, Southern Ute Tribe Indian Council, Letter to Sens. Bennet and Gardner, 3/21/2017)

·         “The Tribe is particularly pleased that Judge Gorsuch currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and therefore has experience in the field of federal Indian law and with legal issues that are particular to the western United States. Most importantly, Judge Gorsuch's judicial record evidences his understanding of tribal sovereignty and other matters that are acutely important to the Tribe, including tribal jurisdiction and tribal sovereign immunity. Because these matters ate often resolved in the Supreme Court, the Tribe supports the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, who has an active judicial record in this complex area of law.” (Clement J. Frost, Chairman, Southern Ute Tribe Indian Council, Letter to Sens. Bennet and Gardner, 3/21/2017)

CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA: “On behalf of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, I am writing to indicate our support for prompt confirmation by the U.S. Senate of the president’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Gary Batton, Chief, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Letter to Sens. Inhofe and Lankford, 3/22/2017)

·         “The Choctaw Nation has reviewed Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudential record and has concluded that his decisions evidence respect for tribal sovereignty, self-government, and territorial authority.” (Gary Batton, Chief, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Letter to Sens. Inhofe and Lankford, 3/22/2017)

CONFEDERATED SALISH & KOOTENAI TRIBES: “The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are pleased to see that President Trump has nominated a judge who understands Indian law and the needs of Indian Country. CSKT has joined other tribes and tribal leaders across the country in sharing our strong desire that the United States Senate confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.” (“Tribes Announce Support For U.S. Supreme Court Nominee,” Lake County [Montana] Leader, 3/03/2017)

·         “Judge Gorsuch is a distinguished jurist from the West with a reputation for fairly applying the law on issues important to us in the western United States…. Judge Gorsuch’s record demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty and understanding of the unique issues facing Indian Country. The Supreme Court will benefit from the perspective of another Westerner on the Court.” (“Tribes Announce Support For U.S. Supreme Court Nominee,” Lake County [Montana] Leader, 3/03/2017)

“The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation has endorsed President Donald Trump’s nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court. ‘In sum, while we do not expect that Judge (Neil) Gorsuch will agree with tribal interests on every issue, we also believe that he is immensely well-qualified, and we are confident that Judge Gorsuch is a mainstream, commonsense Westerner who will rule fairly on Indian Country matters,’ the Fort Belknap Indian Community said in a statement cited in a press release issued by the office of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. ‘We endorse his confirmation to serve. We greatly appreciate your time and consideration.’” (“Fort Belknap Endorses Gorsuch For Supreme Court,” Havre [Montana] Daily News, 3/28/2017)

·         “The Daines release says Fort Belknap joins the tribes of the Fort Peck, Crow and Flathead Indian reservations in endorsing Gorsuch.” (“Fort Belknap Endorses Gorsuch For Supreme Court,” Havre [Montana] Daily News, 3/28/2017)</span>

CENTRAL COUNCIL OF TLINGIT AND HAIDA INDIAN TRIBES OF ALASKA President Richard J. Peterson: “I am writing on behalf of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, a federally recognized tribal government, to indicate our support for prompt confirmation by the U.S. Senate of the president’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Central Council Tlingit Haida has reviewed Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudential record and has concluded that his decisions evidence respect for tribal sovereignty, self-government, and territorial authority.” (Richard J. Peterson, President, Central Council Of Tlingit And Haida Indian Tribes Of Alaska, Letter To Sens. Murkowski And Sullivan, 3/16/2017)

‘Judge Gorsuch Has Been Very Instrumental In Protecting Tribal Sovereignty’

BRUCE IGNACIO, Ute Tribe Council Representative: “Judge Gorsuch has been very instrumental in protecting tribal sovereignty.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

·         IGNACIO: “[U]nderstanding that Gorsuch … is willing to study Indian law, I give him thumbs up.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“…Gorsuch is seen by Indian law experts as more informed on tribal law than were many of Trump’s other potential nominees …” (“Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch for US Supreme Court,” Indian Country Media Network, 2/01/2017)

·         “He has also been pro-tribe in at least one recent Indian law case he has presided over. In a 2015 ruling, he strongly rebuked Utah state and county officials for long challenging the Ute Tribe’s sovereignty ‘Indeed, the harm to tribal sovereignty in this case is perhaps as serious as any to come our way in a long time,’ Gorsuch wrote, referring to the prosecution of Lesa Jenkins, an Ute citizen, who the tribe claimed was racially profiled. He ultimately ruled that state court prosecutions of tribal citizens for offenses committed on tribal lands ‘strongly suggest[ed]’ county officials in eastern Utah were involved in ‘a renewed campaign to undo the tribal boundaries [already] settled’ by higher courts.” (“Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch for US Supreme Court,” Indian Country Media Network, 2/01/2017)

“Hundreds of attendees of the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians fell to a hush as Ignacio explained how his tribe has been fighting encroachments by state and local officials in Utah for decades. Gorsuch, as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has rebuffed those efforts with strong and striking opinions that have safeguarded his people's homelands, he said.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

·         “But Gorsuch's attention to the dispute -- which stretches back 40 years -- resulted in victories in other concrete ways, Ignacio said. After last summer's blockbuster ruling in which the 10th Circuit once again refused to diminish the boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, the higher court removed the federal judge who had been handling the case since 1978.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“Aaron Payment, the chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, was equally impressed with Gorsuch's record, which includes favorable rulings on Indian religious freedom and the federal trust responsibility. He said no other nominee to the nation's highest court has been as well versed with Indian law as Trump's pick. ‘Even though there have been some justices on the Supreme Court that have been favorable, in the end, they had to get there,’ Payment said. Judge Gorsuch, on the other hand, is already there when it comes to sovereignty and other key issues, he said. ‘I'm excited about it,’ Payment said of the possibility that Gorsuch can ‘educate’ his colleagues about those issues should he be confirmed as a justice.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

Tags: Judge Gorsuch, Clearly Understands, Tenets Of Indian Law, National Congress of American Indians To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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