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1/4 Conference Update II January 4, 2008

Posted by rezjudicata in SCOTUS.
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Today, the Court is scheduled to consider two cases that affect or concern Indians or Indian Country, but not Indian law.

Teck Cominco Metals v. Pakootas

Pakootas is an extremely interesting case and it is likely that the Court will grant cert. Pakootas, an enrolled member of the Colville tribe, and the State of Washington sought enforcement of an EPA order that required Teck, a Canadian corporation, to investigate its role in polluting the Columbia River. Teck ejected waste from its mining operation into the Columbia on the Canadian side of the border. Noxious effluent, however, flowed downstream and came to rest in the riverbed on the Colville reservation. The Ninth Circuit held that the citizen suit to enforce the order was a domestic application of CERCLA. The court also held that Teck’s actions triggered liability under CERCLA.

Mann v. North Dakota Tax Commissioner 

“On November 16, 2007, attorneys representing a group of individual Indians filed a petition for cert seeking review of a decision by the North Dakota Supreme Court. In an earlier proceeding, the state district court issued preliminary injunction against the state holding that the application of the state’s motor fuel tax on Indians who reside within and purchase motor fuel on Indian reservations within North Dakota was unlawful. The North Dakota Supreme Court dismissed the appeals based on the final judgment rule, but noted that the district court’s decision was in accord with every federal and state court to address the issue. In addition, the court urged the state legislature to enact a refund procedure for individual Indians to collect their motor fuel tax refunds. In the instant matter, the plaintiff Indians claimed that the refund procedure established by the state legislature violates due process for its failure to provide for a hearing to challenge a denial and violates equal protection by denying a refund unless the claimant provides original receipts. The North Dakota Supreme Court rejected these arguments holding that the refund procedure was reasonable and not unduly burdensome.” Summary from NARF.

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