Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Native American Law

by
Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana, and seven individuals seeking to adopt Indian children filed suit against the United States, several federal agencies and officials, and five intervening Tribes, raising facial constitutional challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) and statutory and constitutional challenges to the 2016 administrative rule (the Final Rule) that was promulgated by the Department of the Interior to clarify provisions of ICWA. The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiffs had standing to bring all claims; the ICWA and the Final Rule are constitutional because they are based on a political classification that is rationally related to the fulfillment of Congress's unique obligation toward Indians; ICWA preempts conflicting state laws and does not violate the Tenth Amendment anticommandeering doctrine; and ICWA and the Final Rule do not violate the nondelegation doctrine. The court also held that the Final Rule implementing the ICWA is valid because the ICWA is constitutional, the BIA did not exceed its authority when it issued the Final Rule, and the agency's interpretation of ICWA section 1915 is reasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and rendered judgment in favor of defendants on all claims. View "Brackeen v. Bernhardt" on Justia Law

by
The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act restored the Tribe's status as a federally-recognized tribe and limited its gaming operations according to state law. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) broadly established federal standards for gaming on Indian lands. After IGRA was enacted, the Fifth Circuit determined that the Restoration Act and IGRA conflict and that the Restoration Act governs the Tribe's gaming activities. (Ysleta I). When the Tribe conducted gaming operations in violation of Texas law, the district court permanently enjoined that activity as a violation of the Restoration Act. The court affirmed the district court's refusal to dissolve the permanent injunction and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying relief from the permanent injunction. The court held that the Restoration Act and the Texas law it invokes—and not IGRA—governed the permissibility of gaming operations on the Tribe's lands. The court held that IGRA did not apply to the Tribe, and the National Indian Gaming Commission did not have jurisdiction over the Tribe. View "Texas v. Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas" on Justia Law

by
The Tribe filed suit against the United States and others alleging, inter alia, violations of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., and federal common law. The Tribe claimed that the Government breached its fiduciary duties under federal law to protect the land and natural resources subject to the aboriginal title of the Tribe. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because the Tribe failed to allege "agency action" sufficient to meet the requirements of the sovereign immunity waiver in section 702, which is necessary to maintain its claims against the federal government and its agencies.View "Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of TX v. United States, et al." on Justia Law

by
Dolgencorp, operator of a Dollar General store on the Choctaw reservation, filed suit seeking to enjoin John Doe and the tribal defendants from adjudicating tort claims against Dolgencorp in the Choctaw tribal court. The underlying tort claims stemmed from Doe's suit alleging that a manager sexually molested him while he was working at the Dollar General store. The court affirmed the district court's denial of Dolgencorp's motion for summary judgment and grant of summary judgment in favor of the tribal defendants because Dolgencorp's consensual relationship with Doe gave rise to tribal court jurisdiction over Doe's claims under Montana v. United States. View "Dolgencorp, Inc., et al. v. MS Band of Choctaw Indians, et al." on Justia Law