SCOTUS to listen to oral arguments in Native American sovereignty cases

Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court Building in Washington DC

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in two very different cases, each of which raise questions about Native American sovereignty.

In the first case, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo sued Texas, asking judges to rule on the rights of Texas native tribes to run gaming operations contrary to Texas state law. Second, Denezpi sued the United States, asking whether the double jeopardy provision of the U.S. Constitution should be prosecuted by a criminal prosecution in tribal court.

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas

A decades-long dispute between Texas and two Indian tribes led to SCOTUS to make the final decision on the tribes’ right to play on their lands. Most recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the fifth round rule in favor of Texasargued that the tribes lawsuit could not proceed because Texas was not sued.

The issue in this case is whether the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indians have sovereign immunity to regulate gaming on their lands. The tribes wanted to conduct different games, including live bingo and casino-style slot machines. The specific type of game the tribes sought to play was called “Type II” by the American Game Association and prohibited by Texas state law.

Legal conflict is essentially a question of choice of law. Texas argues that in 1987 Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Texas Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes Restoration Act The (“Reinstatement Act”) (which prohibits any game that violates Texas law) applies, while the Indian tribes argue that 1988 Game Regulatory Act of India (“IGRA”) (more permissive) governs.

Tribes are lost at both the district court and circuit court levels. As the ring judge Don Willett (One Donald Trump appointee) explained in his view that for the Fifth Circuit, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Texas Indian Tribes Restoration Act of 1987 “comes with a benefit. ” In principle, the Indian tribes had their federal trust restored in exchange for a specific agreement that gaming activities on Pueblo land would be subject to Texas law.

Affirming the district court’s ruling, Judge Willett wrote, “The Restoration Act and IGRA established fundamentally different regimes and the Restoration Act — plus Texas gaming laws and regulations. to which it is associated — provides the framework for determining the legitimacy of game activities on Pueblo’s land. Accordingly, the tribes lawsuit was barred on the grounds that the 11th Amendment granted Texas sovereign immunity from their legal challenges.

Denezpi v. USA

Judges will also be asked to decide whether a person charged in the Indian Criminal Court is “sufficiently a federal agency” for the prosecution to introduce the double-dangerous provision of the U.S. Constitution. United or not.

Merle Denezpi was a member of the Navajo tribe. Denezpi pleaded guilty at the Criminal Court of India (“CFR court”) to assault in 2017 and was released on time. Months later, after a more thorough investigation of the allegations, Denezpi was indicted by a federal grand jury for the same incident. He was found guilty in federal court in Colorado, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Denezpi now argues that his subsequent prosecution in federal court violated the constitutional provision for double jeopardy. The US Constitution guarantees that individuals are not in double danger, but only if the prosecution has the same sovereignty; This means, for example, that successive federal prosecutions for the same crime, or consecutive state prosecutions for the same crime, are prohibited. A federal prosecution was followed by a state prosecution for the same crime, however, Not Ban. How the rule works when the separate sovereigns are the US government and the Indian Criminal Court is unclear.

Write to United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitJudges around the US Stephanie Kulp Seymour (One Jimmy Carter appointee), framed the key question of Denezpi’s appeal this way:

Simply put, the issue in this case is whether the right to prosecute Mr. Denezpi in CFR court comes from tribal sovereignty or from the federal government.

Deciding that the CFR courts are indeed a sovereign court separate from the federal courts of the United States, Seymour writes, “Although the CFR courts are not tribal courts, they still ‘operate as tribal courts’ and provide a ‘judicial forum through which the tribe can exercise its jurisdiction until the tribe adopts formal laws and rules of order. “”

The Ministry of Justice detailed the image details of criminals in its SCOTUS brief:

Inside the home, the defendant threatened to beat VY with four legs if she did not have sex with him. D. Ct. Doctor. 81, at 63-64. Plaintiff then pulled VY’s shirt and hair, pushed her to the ground, and forced her to have sex without reason. Me. at 65-68. The plaintiff barricaded the door, hid VY’s clothes and threatened her with bodily harm if she went to the police.

The Biden administration argues that Congress’s creation of the CFR courts “does not take away the power of tribal self-government,” but simply “provides a forum” for tribes to exercise their powers. them until a tribal court could be established. On the other hand, Denezpi argues that Congress’s creation of CFR courts makes those courts federal enough to pose a dual danger.

The Supreme Court has ruled on other double jeopardy cases in recent years. Most notably, in 2019, the Court issued a 7-2 ruling in Gamble v. United Statesjudge that Gamble Terance is actually the subject of successive federal and state prosecutions for the same crime. The Gamble the case, however, made for interesting bedmates is the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Neil Gorsuch side by side with the majority. In his dissenting view, Gorsuch writes, “A free society does not allow the government to try the same individuals for the same crimes until they are satisfied with the outcome.”

Will Gorsuch continue to be the champion of personal protection in Denezpi The case is still being viewed.

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] SCOTUS to listen to oral arguments in Native American sovereignty cases

James Brien

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