Tribes Oppose Myers Nomination to 9th Circuit Court

Press Release
For Immediate Release


Tribes Oppose Myers Nomination to 9th Circuit Court

March 25, 2004

CNIGA has joined a growing list of organizations across America opposed to the nomination of William G. Myers, III to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This court reviews the most appellate cases dealing with issues effecting tribal governments.

Yesterday Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association participated in a press conference in Washington D.C. along with other national leaders to voice their opposition.

As Solicitor at the Department of Interior, Mr. Myers handled the proposed Glamis Imperial Project gold mine in Southwestern California, which would have destroyed Indian Pass, a tribal sacred place. Mr. Myers' October 2001 Solicitor's Opinion revoked the prior Solicitor Leshy Opinion protecting Indian Pass. The revocation was expressly relied upon by Interior Secretary Gale Norton to rescind the denial of the mine, so that the mine could be reconsidered. Mr. Myers' Opinion ignored Congress' intent to protect the California desert and completely disregarded the rights and interests of the Quechan Indian Nation and its people and other Colorado River tribes.

"As Solicitor General Mr. Myers’ prime responsibility was to advise the Secretary of the Interior of the obligation to consult with tribes on matters of such importance as protecting sacred sites," said CNIGA executive secretary Michael Hunter, "Mr. Myers’ failure to consult with the Quechan Indian Nation prior to issuing a permit for a massive cyanide heap leach gold mine on acreage that includes lands sacred to the Quechan Indian Nation illustrates his disregard for federal law and government to government relations."

“Former Solicitor Myers tried to destroy the Quechan culture, history, and religious places without meeting with the Quechan people. The Quechan got no hearing – let alone a fair hearing from Solicitor Myers’ office. The Quechan Nation and tribes across the country are unified in a very powerful way to oppose Myers’ confirmation to the 9th circuit. His confirmation would be detrimental to all of Indian country,” said Mike Jackson Sr., president of the Quechan Nation.

Over 70 leaders and organizations oppose Myers nomination, some of which include: California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Sierra Club, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Committee for Judicial Independence, Endangered Species Coalition, Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, League of Conservation Voters, National Forest Protection Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Society of American Law Teachers, National Indian Gaming Association, National Congress of American Indians.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association consists of 62 gaming and non-gaming tribal governments. The purpose of CNIGA is to preserve and protect the sovereign rights of Indian tribes including gaming on Indian land.

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