Interested in Federal Indian law?
The NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project is looking for students to assist with research and potential drafting for amicus briefs before the United States Supreme Court and/or lower federal courts with its partners, including the Native American Rights Fund and National Congress of American Indians, and to track federal Indian law cases nationwide. Both tracks—briefing or tracking—prepare students for appellate and/or Supreme Court litigation. Participants will work with Professor Maggie Blackhawk and Clinical Fellow Amanda White Eagle and will receive law school credit commensurate with their availability (1 or 2 credits).
The Sovereignty Project works on a wide array of exciting issues in Indian Country through a critical lens. Below lists a series of amicus briefs, which the Project has worked on for the past academic year. Last fall, an inaugural group of students worked on research and writing for a merits stage amicus brief in, Haaland v. Brackeen, a case involving constitutional challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Supreme Court granted cert in Brackeen shortly thereafter.
In the spring, the Project filed a certiorari state brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of members of Congress in litigation involving disputes between the state of Maine and the Penobscot Nation. You can read more about this brief on Just Security. The Project filed next a merits stage brief on behalf of legal scholars and historians in Denezpi v. United States—a brief that was referenced by Justice Breyer during oral arguments. Finally, also in the Spring semester, the Project filed a merits stage amicus brief in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. This summer, the Project returns to work on its merits stage brief for Haaland v. Brackeen.
The Tracking portion of the Project involves students working independently, and trained by a research librarian, to find and track cases that are important to Indian Country. Each student is assigned particular jurisdictions, most commonly a particular circuit court, and tracks cases throughout the semester utilizing research tools, such as Bloomberg’s docket search, Pacer, and Westlaw/Lexis. Tracking cases provides a marvelous overview to federal litigation and civil/criminal procedure within the federal courts.
To apply to work on the project in Fall semester 2022, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and unofficial transcript to Amanda White Eagle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Leah Shrestinian (email@example.com). Please indicate clearly in your letter of interest which track you are interested in, i.e., briefing or tracking, or both. The deadline for applications is Friday, June 10, 2022 by 5 pm EST.