2006/07/12

Having K Street Fleece The Tribes Isn't Enough

You may be familiar with the 10 year suit by Native American tribes to recover 120 years worth of gas and timber royalty payments from the Department of the Interior. At it's most entertaining Royce Lamberth, the presiding judge, held DoI Secretary Gale Norton in contempt for delivering a laughably inept audit of the payments. But Lamberth is no liberal flunky. He's a conservative Reagan appointee that also held the Clinton Administration's feet, in the form of former DoI Secretary Bruce Babbitt, to the fire. Well now Lamberth is out, removed from the case by a panel of judges from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel which includes Janice Rogers Brown the wingnut former California Supreme Court justice, known for being the GOP's kind of activist.

Lamberth's removal won't stop the case, of course. If anything it allows the case to go forward, but with one notable difference. Now that the presiding judge is gone, Bu$hCo won't be the administration that has to pony up for those gas and timber royalties. In fact, Bu$hCo won't have to do a damn thing because it will probably take another 10 years for a new judge to come up to speed on the issues. Good for Bu$hCo; Good for Big Oil; Good for the timber industry; Good for the Dept. of the Interior; Bad for the tribes.

Now that the GOP lobby no longer has the ability to fleece Native Americans, Bu$hCo will just have to fall back on the old standard: Screwing the tribes out of their royalties. Seems as if old tricks are still the best tricks.

5 Comments:

Wait, wait, wait. Are you actually suggesting that the federal government, and specifically this administration, is screwing Native Americans (again)? Shocked, shocked and appalled I am to hear such a thing!
ditto what the local crank said. Totally shocked.
Shocked? Me too! But here's the thing. This guy could hardly be considered a leftist, and yet the main reason the panel removed him was because he "has lost his objectivity" What? Are these jokers serious. Almost everyone who has looked at the case has agreed that the tribes *ARE* getting fleeced and have been for over 120 years, and in fact the administration is doing everything in its power to stall the delivery of justice.

Lamberth hasn't lost his objectivity, he's right on the mark, and Bu$hCo freakin' knows it.
Lack of "objectivity" is only a problem when somebody somewhere is at least willing to listen to Native American complaints. When SCOTUS recently threw out an Oneida land claim in New York because they "waited too long to file" (nevermind that the courts were effectively closed to them for 150 years and they weren't even considered US citizens until 1924), no one complained that they had "lost their objectivity."
On a somewhat related note, I was overjoyed to read yesterday that Ralph Reed is involved in some Jack Abramoff-related Native American screwing. Not that more Native Americans are being screwed, but that Ralph Reed may finally be getting caught at something:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13828379/

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