Gale Norton is Anti-American Indian Sovereignty and Self-determination
v. Native Village of Venetie
Supreme Court of the United States, 1998. (118 S. Ct. 948, 140 L.
Ed. 2d 30)
As Attorney General of Colorado, Norton submitted an amicus brief
arguing that Alaska Native lands aren't subject to tribal self-governance
as part of federal "Indian Country." This decision expropriated
millions of acres of Indian land in Alaska from the Indian tribes
who took part in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Band of Mission Indians v. National Indian Gaming Commission
827 F. Supp. 26; 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10081
As Attorney General, Norton intervened against the Cabazon Band
of Mission Indians (CA). To empower states at the expense of Native
American sovereignty, she sought to narrow the definitions of Class
I and Class II gaming such that various methods of electronic gaming
would be subject to state-tribal compacts, including electronic
pull-tabs. Meanwhile the State of Colorado allowed the proliferation
of several dozen non-Indian casinos in mountain towns above Denver,
Colorado Springs and Boulder.
of Yakima v. Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian
Supreme Court of the United States, 502 U.S. 251 (1992).
As Attorney General, Norton submitted an amicus brief supporting
the ability of counties to tax private lands within Indian reservations.
If state taxes went unpaid, counties could then seize the land,
thus taking over large portions of Indian Country. The U.S. Supreme
Court agreed with her and recommended to the tribes that they seek
assistance from the U.S. Congress. In dissent, Justice Blackmun
wrote "I am less confident than my colleagues that the 31 Yakima
Indian families likely to be rendered landless by today's decision
are well-positioned to lobby for change in the vast corridors of
County v. Leech Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
U.S. Supreme Court, 118 S.Ct. 1904 (1998).
As Attorney General, Norton submitted a brief supporting the states'
rights agenda to allow state taxation of any alienable lands held
by a tribe, and not just those lands that were held as taxable by
express intent of Congress. She asked the U.S. Supreme Court "to
hold that unrestricted fee patented lands owned by Indian tribes
or by tribal members continue to be subject to ad valorem
property taxes imposed by state and local governments."
Tribe v. Repsis
73 F.3d 982 (10th Cir. 1995)
As Attorney General of Colorado, Gail Norton supported eradication
of the Crow Tribe's (WY) hunting and fishing rights in the Big Horn
National Forest. These historic treaty rights, she argued, became
null and void when Wyoming attained statehood.
v. Coeur D'Alene Tribe
117 S.Ct. 2028 (1997)
As Attorney General, Norton sought to prevent the Coeur D'Alene
Tribe (ID) from asserting title and jurisdiction over Lake Coeur
D'Alene which is located within their reservation. Again trying
to promote state dominance over Indian tribes, she argued that the
U.S. Constitution gave the states' immunity against suits by American
Indians. In this case, however, there was a Presidential Executive
Order expressly recognizing the Coeur D'Alene Tribe's rights to
Lake Coeur D'Alene.
Tribe of Florida v. Florida
Supreme Court, 517 U.S. 44 (1996)
As Attorney General, Norton sought to strengthen the shield that
States enjoy from lawsuits by arguing that Congress couldn't force
the State of Florida to enter into a gaming compact with the Seminole
Tribe. But this case had broader implications, Justice Steven's
in his dissent writes that the decision not only "precludes
Congress from establishing a ... statutory scheme under which Indian
tribes may seek the aid of a federal court to secure a State's good
faith negotiations over gaming," it also "prevents Congress
from providing a federal forum for a broad range of actions against
States, from those sounding in copyright and patent law, to those
concerning bankruptcy, environmental law and the regulation of our
vast national economy."
v A-1 Contractors, US Supreme Court
US Supreme Court, 1997, 117 S. Ct. 1404, 137 L.E. 2d 661
As Attorney General, Norton argued that the Ft. Berthold Indian
Tribal court (ND) should be denied jurisdiction over legal claims
related to the work of contractors who are employed by the tribe
to perform work for the tribe. Norton contented that even though
the work was paid for by the tribe, performed for the tribe, and
took place on tribal lands, legal claims over its adequacy falls
under state, not tribal jurisdiction.
of Alaska v. Katie John, Doris Charles, and other Ahtna Athabaskan
Indians; Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt and the United States
On Appeal before the Ninth Circuit (en bank)
After stepping down as Attorney General, Norton went back to work
for the Mountain States Legal Foundation fighting Native American
the expense of Alaska taxpayers (at least $60,000), she helped
the Foundation intervene in this case to assert that the Department
Interior can not ensure the subsistence hunting and fish rights
of Native Alaskans by designating navigable waterways as public
lands. Native Alaskans were given hunting and fishing rights on
public lands by the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation
Act (ANILCA), but the State of Alaska claims it violates the state
constitution, so the Department of Interior was forced to step in
to enforce it federally. The federal right was upheld by the District
of Alaska and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is currently
being reviewed en bank.
Production Co. v. Southern Ute Indian Tribe
No. 98-830 1998 U.S. Briefs 830 October Term, 1998 March 4, 1999
Mountain States Legal Foundation submitted an amicus brief in support
of Amoco arguing that the company did not have to pay royalties
to the Southern Ute Tribe for natural gas extracted from the coal
taken from the Southern Ute Tribe Reservation (CO).
v. Jicarilla Apache Tribe
U.S. Supreme Court, 1982, 455 U.S. 130, 102 S.Ct. 894, 71 L.Ed.
The Mountain States Legal Foundation argued in this pivotal case
that the Jicarilla Apache Tribe (NM) does not have a right to impose
a severance tax upon oil and natural gas removed from Apache lands.
Lodge Multiple Use Association v. Babbitt
1998 WL195624 (D. WY1998)
The Mountain States Legal Foundation sought to prevent the National
Park Service from enacting a management plan for Devil's Tower that
discouraged rock climbing in the month of June in order to allow
northern plains Indians to conduct religious ceremonies in an undisturbed,
reverent environment. The U.S. District Court ruled in favor of
the National Park Service, the 10th Circuit Appeals Court affirmed
the lower court ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to
hear the case or overturn the 10th Circuit Ruling.
Graham Red Squirrel v. Madigan
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Nos. 89-16138, 90-15400, 90-16125,
1991 U.S. App. LEXIS 28997; 91 Daily Journal DAR 15609
Mountain States Legal Foundation intervened in the case, arguing
against protection of the endangered Mt. Graham Red Squirrel from
habitat destruction. Mt. Graham, especially the area inhabited by
the red squirrel, is sacred to the San Carlos Apaches. Apache groups
also litigated on religious infringement grounds to stop the encroachment.