Bad intentions by the Cherokee Nations Council including Chad Smith has now come back to bite them.
The descendants of former slaves owned by some Cherokees can sue Cherokee Nation officers for disenfranchising them from tribal elections, a federal appeals court here ruled today.
The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a victory for the so-called "freedmen,'' who filed suit after being prevented from voting in two tribal elections in 2003.
The tribe argued that it had sovereign immunity and couldn't be sued. The appeals court ruled today that the Cherokee Nation does have sovereign immunity in the case but that the tribal leaders do not.
"Faced with allegations of ongoing constitutional and treaty violations, and a prospective request for injunctive relief, officers of the Cherokee Nation cannot seek shelter in the tribe’s sovereign immunity,'' the court's opinion says.
The case will now go back to U.S. district court here, where it was filed.
The Cherokee Nation voted last year to amend its constitution to remove all freedmen descendants from the tribal rolls who do not have Cherokee blood. The change is being challenged in a Cherokee court.
Angered by the Cherokee Nation's action, many members of Congress are trying to strip the tribe of some of its federal funding, and the tribe has been fighting a public relations and lobbying battle here to prevent it.
Stay tuned for updates and reaction. CONGRATULATIONS to the Freedmen
Press release July 29 2008 re Court of Appeals Decision letterhead doc - Upload a Document to Scribd
Read this document on Scribd: Press release July 29 2008 re Court of Appeals Decision letterhead doc
Here is a link to the decision: http://www.scribd.com/doc/4259590/VAnn-versus-Kempthorne-075024