Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Old laws, treaties familiar to Court

Expand Messages
  • Paul Pureau
    Indianz.Com. In Print. URL http://www.indianz.com/SmokeSignals/Headlines/showfull.asp?ID=law/1212000-1 Old laws, treaties familiar to Court DECEMBER 1, 2000
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2000
      Indianz.Com. In Print.

      Old laws, treaties familiar to Court
      DECEMBER 1, 2000

      When the Supreme Court today hears arguments that may
      determine the fate of the Presidential race, their
      focus will include a law passed over one hundred years

      On Thursday, Texas Governor Al Gore and Vice President
      Al Gore submitted briefs on how they feel the seven
      Justices should interpret the Electoral Count Act. The
      law was passed in 1887 in order to avoid a repeat of
      the 1876 Presidential election in which Republican
      Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Democrat Samuel Tilden
      after a nationwide dispute over electoral votes, a
      crucial element in the present race.

      But even as the Act is termed "obscure" and "old" by
      national media, the Court's Indian law cases show that
      history sometimes comes back with a bite of its own.

      In recent years, the Court's interpretation of old
      laws and treaties have resulted in the reduction of
      the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and the
      limitation of a tribal authority over non-Indians. At
      the same time, the Court has upheld the treaty rights
      of Ojibwe bands in Minnesota and the water rights of a
      tribe in Arizona.

      But whether the decision has been hailed as good or
      bad, the Court has usually interpreted Indian law
      disputes as if time has stood still. In 1999, for
      instance, the Court considered if the Southern Ute
      Tribe of Colorado were entitled to royalties for
      coalbed methane gas (CMB) extracted from coal the
      tribe owns.

      In deciding the case, the Court relied on the fact
      that CMB was considered a waste product in the early
      1900s, when two crucial laws were passed by Congress.
      In spite of advancements in technology which have now
      made CMB a valuable resource, the Court held true to
      the past and ruled against the tribe.

      Already facing a difficult battle on several fronts,
      the Supreme Court's view of old laws may prove
      difficult for Gore to overcome. Since the Electoral
      Count Act was intended to let states decide electoral
      disputes, the Court may agree with Bush's
      interpretation of the law and turn back the clock to
      November 12, the original Florida certification date.

      Bush argues that the Florida decision which extended
      the certification date constituted "new law" and
      therefore violated the Act and state law. Gore, on the
      other hand, says the Florida decision merely resolved
      existing state law.

      But the Court has already surprised legal analysts and
      scholars by deciding to hear the case in the first
      place. In either event, the Court's ruling might not
      end the dispute entirely, as Florida lawmakers are
      planning on holding a special session to ensure that
      Bush gets the state's 25 electoral votes.

      On that issue, however, Gore has told the Supreme
      Court that such a move violates yet another old law,
      one passed in 1845.

      Oral arguments begin at 10:00AM Eastern Standard Time.
      The hearing will last 90 minutes. No video or audio
      taping is allowed, but the Court will make its own
      audio tape of the hearing available soon after the

      C-SPAN plans on airing it in its entirety.
      Additionally, the Court will post a written transcript
      on its web site soon after the hearing.

      Get the Supreme Court Briefs:
      US Supreme Court Briefs (The Washington Post)

      Related Stories:
      Presidential Election update (Politics 11/30)
      Presidential election update (Politics 11/29)
      Gore appeals to nation (Politics 11/28)

      Relevant Links:
      The Supreme Court - www.supremecourtus.gov
      C-SPAN - www.cspan.org

      Copyright � Indianz.Com 2000.

      Paul Pureau

      to subscribe to ndn-aim send a blank mail to: ndn-aim-subscribe@egroups.com
      ndn-aim is now archived on line at Http://www.escribe.com/life/ndn-aim/

      Do You Yahoo!?
      Yahoo! Shopping - Thousands of Stores. Millions of Products.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.