Stokes Lawrence assists Cougar Den, Inc. in its U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief

Apr 7, 2022   Print PDF

Related Practice: American Indian Law

Derek Red Arrow Frank and Brendan Monahan assisted Cougar Den, Inc. in its U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief, which asks the Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit decision which effectively abrogated the Snoqualmie Tribe’s hunting rights absent a Congressional Act. The case began in 2019 when Washington State, a non-treaty party, determined that Snoqualmie lacked off-reservation hunting and fishing rights. Looking to the federal courts to uphold the words of its Treaty, Snoqualmie challenged the state’s unlawful determination. Rather than honor the actions of the Legislative and Executive Branches of Government, the Ninth Circuit broke from the Judiciary’s role to abrogate Snoqualmie’s Treaty rights via the discretionary rule of issue preclusion.

"This cannot happen," says Derek Red Arrow, "Treaties represent intergovernmental agreements between sovereign nations, entered into by the Executive and ratified by Congress pursuant to the United States Constitution. The Judiciary’s role is to interpret the ratified treaties; it is unable to abrogate Treaty terms without clear congressional direction. The lower courts violated this Constitutional mandate. The Supreme Court should grant certiorari to stable the balance of federal power to align with the Constitution and longstanding principles of Indian policy.”

You can read the full Cougar Den Snoqualmie Amicus Brief here