2010 Supreme Court Candidates — Part III — Sidney Thomas

6. Hon. Sidney Thomas — CA9 Judge.

Judge Thomas, a 1995 Clinton appointee and U of Montana Law School grad, sits on the Ninth Circuit and has an extensive Indian law track record. His record is very mixed, with several opinions from the 1990s that are very hostile to tribal interests; most especially Wilson v. Marchington. However, his track record is considerably better in the 2000s, with the highlight being his opinion in Midwater Trawlers v. Dept. of Commerce.

Rincon Band v. Schwarzeneggar (2010) — voted with Judge Smith in the majority, finding that California negotiated with bad faith in demanding revenue sharing with the Band.

Elliott v. White Mountain Apache (2009) — voted with majority requiring Wanda Jo Elliott to exhaust tribal court remedies.

BNSF v Ray (2007) — voted with majority in per curiam opinion finding no colorable tribal court jurisdiction

U.S. v. Benally (2006) — voted with majority in per curiam opinion affirming MCA conviction over claims that jury voir dire was tainted by race discrimination

U.S. v. Riggs (2006) — joined majority in per curiam opinion affirming MCA conviction over claims of witness tampering

Kalispel Tribe v. Spokane Raceway Track (2005) — joined majority in per curiam opinion affirming injunction favoring Indian tribe.

U.S. v. Birdinground (2004) — joined majority in per curiam opinion affirming MCA conviction over claims that district court invalidly excluded a Crow traditional law expert.

Kahawaiolaa v. Norton (2004) — wrote opinion holding that DOI may exclude Native Hawaiians from tribal recognition process

Navajo Nation v. HHS (2003) — joined unanimous majority in en banc opinion affirming HHS decision not to allow Nation to administer TANF funds.

NLRB v. Chapa De Indian Health Program (2003) — joined majority in affirming NLRB subpoena power over tribal health care organization

Midwater Trawlers Co-op v. Dept. of Commerce (2002) — wrote opinion upholding tribal treaty rights to Pacific whiting, etc.

U.S. ex rel. Fort Mojave Indian Tribe v. Byrne (2002) — wrote opinion reversing district court decision favoring non-Indian land-owners against tribe and U.S.

Boxx v. Long Warrior (2001) — joined panel majority finding no tribal court jurisdiction over tort claim against non-Indian

Demontiney v. U.S. ex rel. DOI BIA (2001) — joined majority in affirming dismissal of contract claim against U.S. and tribe

U.S. v. Enas (2001) — joined en banc majority affirming Duro fix

Ninilchik Traditional Council v. U.S. (2000) — joined majority partially finding in favor of tribal challenge to subsistence board regs

Stout v. Te-Moak Tribe (2000) — joined per curiam majority in denying ICRA habeas petition for failure to exhaust tribal court remedies

Burlington Northern R. v. Red Wolf (1999) — wrote opinion rejecting tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indian [infamous case where railroad alleged tribal judge goaded all-Crow jury to punish the defendant for historic wrongs]

State of Montana Dept. of Transp. v. King (1999) — wrote opinion rejecting tribal jurisdiction and authority to enforce TERO ordinance against state

U.S. v. Tidwell (1999) — wrote opinion affirming NAGPRA conviction and affirming NAGPRA constitutionality

Muckleshoot Tribe v. USFS (1999) — joined per curiam opinion reversing dismissal of NEPA/NHPA claims brought by tribe and others

Johnson v. Gila River Indian Community (1999) — wrote opinion affirming tribal immunity from ICRA claims

Helgeson v. BIA (1998) — wrote opinion affirming BIA denial of Indian Revolving Loan

State of Montana v. Gilham (1998) — wrote opinion affirming state immunity from suit in tribal court

Wilson v. Marchington (1997) — wrote opinion declining to enforce tribal court judgment in federal court on grounds that tribal court did not have jurisdiction over nonmember defendant

Klump v. Babbitt (1997) — joined per curiam opinion affirming BIA impoundment of cattle owned by Indian

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, Supreme Court and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 2010 Supreme Court Candidates — Part III — Sidney Thomas

  1. Lauren says:

    Interesting–Chemerinsky said last week that he thinks she will be the nominee.

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