Thursday, January 11, 2007

White House Withdraws Nomination of William G. Myers III

On Tuesday, January 9, 2006, William G. Myers III, a former Solicitor for the Department of the Interior whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was opposed by Indian tribes and environmental groups, asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration. When Mr. Myers was first nominated by President Bush in 2003, the Native American Rights Fund, along with the National Congress of American Indians and numerous Indian tribes and inter-tribal organizations, took the unprecedented step in formally opposing a judicial nominee to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

In the private sector, Mr. Myers has largely represented the mining and cattle industries as their lawyer and lobbyist. During his tenure as Solicitor – as the top lawyer at the Department of the Interior from 2001 to 2003 – Mr. Myers displayed a complete lack of understanding of the government-to-government trust relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, while demonstrating a calculated bias in favor of mining, grazing and other special interests. Mr. Myer’s record regarding issues impacting Indian country was unmistakably clear: He is hostile to the rule of law whenever the law does not serve the special interests he represents in the private sector. His record demonstrated a bias – a wholesale bias against the fundamental and sound interests of Native peoples. Indian country had grave concerns with Mr. Myers ability to apply the law fairly and impartially as a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which contains over 400 Indian tribes and millions of acres of Indian lands.

Through the Judicial Selection Project of the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative, the Native American Rights Fund continues its work with the National Congress of American Indians in researching the backgrounds and evaluating the records of judicial nominees to the U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court whose decisions will have a direct impact on Indian tribes and Indian people.

Related News Stories:

• • Myers withdraws nomination for 9th Circuit seat (Indianz.com) 1/10/07

• • 4 Nominees To Appeals Courts Are Dropped (Washington Post) 1/10/07

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tribes File Trust Funds Mismanagement Lawsuit Against Federal Government

On December 28, 2006, the Native American Rights Fund filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of tribes for mismanagement of tribal trust funds. This suit seeks a full and complete accounting of hundreds of tribal accounts that were required to be managed by the U.S. government. The tribal accounts are worth billions of dollars and are related to income from natural resources. The suit, filed before the 12/31/06 deadline set by Congress, names eleven tribes but may affect more than 250 tribes nationwide.

Read the entire press release.

Complaint filed by NARF at the U.S. District Court

Tribal Trust Funds Accountings Lawsuit Website

Related News Story:

• • Tribes file class action trust accounting lawsuit (Indianz.com) 1/4/07