In Kodiac Oil & Gas v. Burr, Trump Eighth Circuit judge L. Steven Grasz wrote an opinion that eroded the authority of tribal courts to hear cases involving issues impacting tribal members. Judge Grasz’s decision severely undermines tribal sovereignty.
In Brackeen v. Bernhardt, Trump Fifth Circuit judges Don Willett, Kyle Duncan, Kurt Engelhardt, and Andrew Oldham voted to reconsider a decision that reversed a lower court ruling that found certain provisions of the Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA) to be unconstitutional. The ICWA established “minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and placement in foster care or in adoptive homes that reflect Indian culture.” It was passed to “in an attempt to fix rampant abuse within child protection measures applying to Native American children.” This gives the new Trump judges on the court an opportunity to weigh in and, potentially, undo crucial provisions of the law.
In Confederated Tribes & Bands of the Yakama Nation v. Yakima County, Trump Ninth Circuit judge Ryan D. Nelson ruled against the Yakama Nation, holding that the state of Washington can exercise criminal jurisdiction over members of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation who commit crimes on reservation land.
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