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Section: Legal Cases
Title: Date:
State of Maine v. Johnson, 498 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007)
That case involved a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which gave the State of Maine permitting authority, under the Clean Water Act and MICSA, with regard to discharge of pollutants into territorial waters of the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe, but exempted two Tribal-owned facilities from the State's permitting program. Despite a detailed Opinion Letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior supporting the Tribe's claims, the court upheld the State’s authority to regulate all of the disputed sites, including the two tribal-owned sites located on tribal lands which the EPA had found to have insignificant consequences for non-members of the tribes.
August 8, 2007

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians v. Ryan, 484 F.3d 73 (1st Cir. 2007)
Former employees of the Maliseets filed complaints with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging violations of their rights under state law. In response, the Maliseets contended that they possess inherent sovereign rights to control their internal tribal matters. According to the Tribe, employment decisions are a function of tribal government not subject to state regulation. The First Circuit concurred with the State’s argument that MICSA 25 USCS §1725(a) applies to the Maliseets.
April 17, 2007

Aroostook Band of Micmacs v. Ryan 484 F.3d 41 (1st Cir. 2007)
Former employees of the Micmacs filed complaints with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging violations of their rights under state law. In response, the Micmacs contended that they possess inherent sovereign rights to control their internal tribal matters. According to the Tribe, employment decisions are a function of tribal government not subject to state regulation. The First Circuit concurred with the State’s argument that MICSA 25 USCS §1725(a) applies to the Micmacs.
April 17, 2007

Great Northern Paper v. Penobscot Nation, 770 A.2d 574 (Me. 2001)
Three paper corporations sued the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe seeking documents under the Maine Freedom of Access Act. The Court had to decide whether the Maine Freedom of Access Act, 1 M.R.S.A. §§ 401-410 (1989 & Supp. 2000), which is ordinarily applicable to municipalities and other components of state government, is applicable to the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The Court found that when the Tribes are engaged in the deliberative processes of self-governance, the Maine Freedom of Access Act does not apply due to 30 MRSA §6206(1). Conversely, the Court decided when the Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation act in their municipal capacity “with persons or entities other than their tribal membership, such as the state or federal government, the Tribes may be engaged in matters that are not "internal tribal matters."”
May 1, 2001

Penobscot Nation v. Fellencer, 164 F.3d 706 (1st Cir. 1999)
Fellencer was an employment case where the Maine Superior Court ruled that employment matters did not fall under the internal tribal matters provisions of the MIA. On January 19, 1999, Fellencer was reversed on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, and the case was remanded for the entry of judgment (reversed) in favor of the Penobscot Indian Nation.
January 19, 1999

State of Maine v. Beal, 4th Dist. Ct. No. 96-957 et seq.
Thirteen Passamaquoddy fishers were charged with harvesting marine resources without a license and other offenses. The Passamaquoddy Tribe hired an attorney to defend the Passamaquoddy fishers charged in June of 1997 and the 13 cases were joined into one: State v. Beal. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction over Passamaquoddy Tribe fishers. That motion to dismiss was rejected by District Court Judge John Romei.
March 27, 1998

Penobscot Nation v. Fellencer, 999 F. Supp. 120 (D. Me. 1998)
Judge Morton Brody’s decision to uphold the Maine Superior Court ruling that the Maine Human Rights Commission had jurisdiction over an employment dispute the Penobscot Nation had with a former employee. The ruling was overturned by the First Circuit Court of Appeals on January 19, 1999.
March 13, 1998

Passamaquoddy v. State of Maine 75 F.3d 784 (1996)
In 1996, the Passamaquoddy Tribe brought suit against the State of Maine on gaming (Passamaquoddy v. State of Maine 75 F.3d 784 (1996)) (Addendum 8). The Tribe argued that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (enacted after Stilphen and in the wake of Cabazon) opened the door for Tribal gaming in Maine and compelled the State to compact with the Tribe. The Court found that section 1735(b) was a valid "savings clause" that precluded application of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in Maine unless Congress specifically made it applicable in Maine. The Court concluded that the text of IGRA gave no indication that Congress intended to make that Act specifically applicable within Maine.
February 9, 1996

Penobscot Nation v. Stilphen 461 A.2d 478 (Me. 1983)
In 1982, the Penobscot Nation filed for injunctive relief asserting in part that MIA Section 6206(1) protects against State interference in internal tribal matters. The Court rejected the Penobscot Nation argument. As a result, the State view that the Penobscot Nation beano operation was subject to State law under 30 MRSA §6204 prevailed.
June 7, 1983

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