Success at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Indian Legal Clinic

The Indian Legal Clinic represented the appellants in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Case no. 21-35230, Newtok Village v. Andy Patrick) in an appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska that involved defending tribal sovereignty from unlawful intrusion by federal courts.

On behalf of their clients, the clinic appealed an adverse permanent injunction issued by the District Court of Alaska and argued that tribal sovereignty to resolve intratribal disputes prevents federal courts from intervening on such matters and that the District Court of Alaska lacked jurisdiction. On December 22, 2021, the Ninth Circuit unanimously agreed with the appellants’ arguments and vacated the district court’s orders. Judge Richard C. Tallman wrote the opinion, concluding, “Continuing to enforce the permanent injunction here risks the federal court’s impermissible involvement in interpreting the Tribe’s constitution and laws.” 

Indian Legal Clinic Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee argued the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 9, 2021. Watch the recording of the oral argument. Vinnie Amato (3L) assisted with research, and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) and Jens Camp (’21) assisted in drafting the briefs before the Ninth Circuit. Jacob Broussard (3L) provided notes for the oral argument prep, and Native Vote Fellow Blair Tarman-Toner (’21) and Dolan assisted in preparing and refining Ferguson-Bohnee’s oral argument. The clinic collaborated with co-counsel James J. Davis, Jr. of the Northern Justice Project LLC in Anchorage, Alaska.

ILP Family legacy

Native American Heritage Month

ASU's Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) president and 2L Ashleigh Fixico (Muscogee Creek Nation) rocking her mocs

As a team representing 10 tribes at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Indian Legal Program aims to educate and celebrate on the ancestral lands of the Akimel O’odham. The program was established 33 years ago by the efforts of two ASU Law students – Gloria Kindig (’89) and LynDee Wells (’89). Over the years, we have excelled and built on that vision and created the Indian Legal Clinic, the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project, the Indian Wills Clinic, the Pathway to Law Initiative, the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program, and the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs.

  • Kate Rosier (Comanche), ILP Executive Director and Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien), ILP Faculty Director and Indian Legal Clinic Director
  • Professor Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee), Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar and Director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program
  • Professor Stacy Leeds (Cherokee), Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership
  • Professor Trevor Reed (Hopi), Associate Professor of Law
  • Professor Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (’94) (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Professor of Practice and Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs
  • Professor Derrick Beetso (’10) (Navajo), Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs
  • Professor Helen Burtis (’07), Faculty Associate
  • Professor Lance Morgan (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Faculty Associate
  • Professor Pilar Thomas (Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona), Faculty Associate
  • Danielle Williams (Navajo), Program Coordinator Sr
  • Theresa Beaulieu (Stockbridge-Munsee), Program Coordinator
  • Honore Callingham (’18), Senior Specialist, Indian Legal Clinic
  • Torey Dolan (’19) (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Native Vote Policy Fellow, Indian Legal Clinic
  • Blair Tarman (’21) (Chickasaw), Native Vote Policy Fellow, Indian Legal Clinic

In addition to the JD program, we also offer a Master of Laws (LLM) program and Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. 

We’ve expanded our presence in Nebraska, California and Washington, D.C. We are a growing network because law is a growing field. Over 375 ILP students have graduated from ASU Law and over 150 received a certificate in Indian Law. 

Today, we are proud to have 72 students representing 36 tribes: 44 JD, 1 LLM and 27 MLS. 

To our entire ILP family: Happy Native American Heritage Month!

Celebrating NALSA

Twelve ASU Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) students received the Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ) Scholarship for their academic achievement at the “NABA-AZ Seven Generations Virtual Awards Event and Silent Auction.” Congratulations to all the recipients, especially our ILP students: Hilary Edwards (3L), Dallon Echo Hawk (3L), Brittany Habbart (2L), Michael LaValley (2L), Victorialyn McCarthy (1L), Brianna Minjarez (3L), Cierra Moore (3L), Lena Neuner (2L), Taylor Norman (2L), Autumn Shone (2L), Alexandra Trousdale (1L) and Ruben Zendejas (2L). 

“NABA-AZ is proud to support these talented law students,” said NABA-AZ President and ILP Executive Director Kate Rosier. “The future is bright!”

We appreciate the committed support of NABA-AZ.

ILP serving on the NABA-AZ Board

The Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ) recently announced its 2021-2022 board of directors. Congratulations to this year’s ILP leadership: ILP Executive Director Kate Rosier, president; Meredith Gaylord (’19), president-elect; Bartley Harris (’08), treasurer; and Professor Pilar Thomas, secretary. Other ASU ILP board members include Jason Croxton (’10), ILP Faculty Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Simon Goldenberg (’17), Verrin Kewenvoyouma (’04) and Kevin Pooley (’15). 

We appreciate ILP representation on the board!

____

Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator Sr, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Indian Law Representation

In the Arizona Attorney Magazine

In the recent edition of the Arizona Attorney Magazine, you’ll see the Special Focus on Indian Law that includes publications by our ILP family.

ILP advisory council member Judith M. Dworkin, Joe Keene (’12) and Candace French (’17) published an article “An Opportunity Arises: Prop 207 and Arizona Tribes’ New Beginnings for Marijuana Legalization.” 

Ed Hermes (’13) co-authored an article “Arizona—Tribal 2021 Gaming Compact Amendments: What you need to know” with Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier.

Glennas’ba Augborne (’16) and April Olson (’06) published an article “Bent, But Not Broken—ICWA Stands: A Summary of Brackeen v. Haaland.”

Simon Goldenberg (’17) and Hermes joined the Bar Leadership Institute of the State Bar of Arizona Bar.

In this collection, our ILP family, who reflect on history and what our ancestors endured, have a stronghold of treating knowledge as a community endeavor, something to be protected and shaped by Indian legal advocacy work. We are proud of the goodwill work that they produce and their committed service to Indian Country.

____

Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator Sr, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Impacting the next gen

This past semester ILP Executive Director and Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress Kate Rosier and Assistant Dean Ray English of ASU Law’s Office of Career and Employment Service joined forces to co-teach an undergraduate course LAW 394: Law School Foundations. The course was created to provide students with the opportunity to explore and develop the skills necessary to apply to law school and succeed in law school. This diverse roster took part in an intensive LSAT preparation course, and students learned about the law school application process and application strategies. They were also given the opportunity to network with law school administrators, law students, lawyers and judges. 

“I feel like the course provided students with a great foundation upon which to develop their critical thinking skills and to pursue admission into law school,” said English. “My favorite memories surround oral arguments. Students did amazingly well, considering many had never made an oral argument before.”

Over the course of the semester, the students were exposed to legal constructions of the courts in the United States and Arizona, including the function of courts and judges. Students participated in legal analysis exercises, draft legal memorandums and made oral arguments.

“It was a rewarding experience to work with talented and motivated students in the class,” said Rosier. “It was fun to demystify the law school admissions process and direct them with helpful tips.”

The course was initially designed to be in-person but due to a global pandemic, Rosier and English quickly took action and reworked the course to meet the needs of the students. By the end of the semester, they realized the course exceeded their expectations. “Kate and I make a great team! I am looking forward to working with her to improve the course.”

“I think the biggest accomplishment is that all of the students attended every session, even though I made everyone turn on their cameras,” he said. By the end of the semester, two students secured summer internships with Honorable David B. Gass of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One.

This course was based on the course previously taught by Jeremiah Chin (’15) and Dr. Bryan Brayboy. We appreciate their great work and forward thinking.    

NABA-AZ Scholarship Winners

Ten ASU NALSA students received the NABA-AZ Scholarship for their academic achievement. Congratulations to all the recipients, especially our ILP students: Mariah Black Bird (3L), Brendan Clark (3L), Hilary Edwards (2L), Dallon Echo Hawk (2L), Brittany Habbart (1L), Michael LaValley (1L), Aspen Miller (3L), Taylor Norman (2L), McArthur Stant II (3L) and Ruben Zendejas (1L). 

Thank you to NABA-AZ for continuing to support Arizona law students, especially during the pandemic.

NABA-AZ will recognize all the scholarship winners on March 26 at Noon during a virtual event. Please join the event and celebrate our outstanding students.

2021 Pipeline to Law: Online Sessions

The Native American Pipeline to Law Pre-Law team will be hosting Online Sessions this summer. These sessions will help students successfully navigate the law school application process. It doesn’t matter which school you are coming from and which school you choose, we want to help you get there.

  • Develop an effective application, resume, and personal statement
  • Explore law school funding options
  • Receive test prep tips for the LSAT
  • Hear from former and current American Indian law students

Apply by May 3. Spots fill up fast!

Submit your application at: law.asu.edu/pipelinetolaw

Progress, Power, Purpose: Kate Rosier

Women's History Month

In celebrating “Women’s History Month,” we turned to some of the women of the ILP to shed light on Native women legal professionals and advocates in this Progress, Power, Purpose series. There’s something special to be said about ILP Director Kate Rosier who was recently appointed to Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress, the name is so fitting. Fostering talent and shaping the future one conversation at a time is this Comanche woman’s talent—ask any ILP alum and current student. Her most recent and proven work is in the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative, which is comprised of three dedicated partners. In its seventh year, the Native American Pipeline to Law team is proud to host Pipeline to Law Online Sessions this summer.

For most of the ILP Family who address her as Katie Bear or Momma Bear Kate, Dean Rosier has also been addressed as Professor this year. For the first time in her career, she is co-teaching an undergraduate course, Law 394: Law School Foundations, with Assistant Dean Ray English at ASU Law.  Providing so many students with opportunities to achieve greatness is her bread and butter!

Q: What does your current position entail?
A: I’m the official Momma Bear of the ILP. I help to recruit and retain students and make sure the students have a nice experience while in law school. I also help with grant writing, development, alumni relations, partnerships, programming and communications for the program. 

Q: Were you always interested in this kind of work?
A: No. After I passed the bar, I started working for Gila River’s Law office. In 2000, I was contacted by my former law professor and (then) Dean of ASU Law Trish White and Professor Tsosie about joining the ILP team. I had a business background and had worked with incoming students at University of Utah so it seemed like a good fit. Thinking back on it now, I kind of grew up in this position. 

Q: What advice do you have for Native American women who want to work in this area?
A: Working as a law school administrator has been awesome for me and my family. I am able to stay connected to the law, help diversify the profession while balancing the demands of family. I think this might be a dream job. 

Q: What is your proudest career moment?
A: I have proud career moments every time I see ILP students do something awesome in Indian Country. I see them as babies and then they graduate and help change the world. Very cool.

Q: Who are three Native American women law professionals and/or advocates who should be on our radar right now? 
A:
Who can name just 3!?

  • I’m inspired by Patty and Stacy. They are smart, professional, fun and always wanting to give back to Indian Country.
  • I’m in awe of our female attorneys leading tribal legal teams: Jennifer Giff and Theresa Rosier (Salt River), Debra Gee (Chickasaw), Diandra Benally (Fort McDowell), Doreen McPaul and Kim Dutcher (Navajo) and Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs).
  • Kristin Theis-Alvarez (Berkeley Admissions/Pipeline to law team member) Kristin is now the dean of admissions at Berkeley law. She has been working hard at Berkeley, the Native American Pathways to Law Program, Graduate Horizons, and with LSAC to help diversify the profession. She is smart, confident, stylish and full of sass.
  • Rodina Cave Parnall (Director of PLSI) Rodina had big shoes to fill taking over for Heidi Nesbit. She didn’t try to be Heidi. She stepped in and made the role her own. She has been great with the students and tried to think of creative new ways to support future lawyers before, after and during law school. I appreciate the patience she has with students and her willingness to think about what each student needs.
  • The many students and young grads of ILP. I know I recruited them but WOW! They are so smart and talented. I can’t wait to see what they will do next. The future is bright.
  • I’m also inspired by all the lawyer moms balancing everything well. The law is a tough field and they are getting it done while having kids, parents, partners, pets and extended family to keep happy. Bravo!

Q: In your career, did you ever feel like the lone Native American voice in the room? How did you overcome those adversities? For that girl/woman who is finding her rhythm and trying to carve out a space to thrive, what advice would you give her?
A: Remember your law degree and bar license is just as valuable as theirs. Do not let people make you feel less than. 

Q: Favorite law school memory:
A: Attending PLSI before the start of law school was my favorite time. It was so powerful to be surrounded by native students on the same journey. I met my future sister-in-law and best friend at the program. WE had fun, worked hard and learned so much. I’ll always be grateful for my time there. PS – The class of 1995 was the best class of all time. 

Review Kate’s accolades:

  •  “ASU Law announces new leadership positions” in ASU News article.
  • Kate received the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Inc.’s EDGE Award for exhibiting “Education, Diversity and Greater Equality in the legal profession” in November 2018.

Stay tuned for our next Progress, Power, Purpose series.

________

Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Progress, Power, Purpose

Life in a pandemic has not been easy for any of us but we remain resilient and stand strong. While political changes are shifting with the new Biden-Harris Administration, we recognize history in the making. Congresswoman Deb Haaland is front and center as a reminder of women in their power. In celebrating “Women’s History Month,” we turned to some of the women of the Indian Legal Program to shed light on women legal professionals and advocates in this Progress, Power, Purpose series. Starting with ILP’s powerhouse lady leads, Executive Director Kate Rosier who was recently appointed as Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress at ASU Law and Faculty Director and Indian Legal Clinic Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee.

In spite of these tumultuous times, ILP’s lady leads have not skipped a beat. In fact, they have greatly expanded and transformed the digital media scene from offering free CLE virtual events (McGirt webinar is still ASU Law’s largest webinar attended) to increased collaborative partnerships. Since the law school reopened its doors to the administration and began offering hybrid courses in August 2020, these lady leads are in their offices every week with their doors open to current and prospective students, and teaching their respective classes. All in the name of good service. 

As a program led by Native women, we want to celebrate our women who are serving their communities, holding seats at the tables of governance, strategizing to secure victories, blazing trails and setting a tone for the generation of Native women to follow. 

Read their stories in the Progress, Power, Purpose series:

  • Kate Rosier, Director and Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Faculty Director & ILC Director
  • Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (’94), Professor of Practice and Indian Gaming & Tribal Self-Governance Programs Director
  • Stacy Leeds, Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership
  • Honorable Diane Humetewa (’93), Professor of Practice
  • Helen Burtis (’07), Faculty Associate
  • Breann Swann Nu’uhiwa (’09), Faculty Associate
  • Torey Dolan (’19), Native Vote Fellow
  • Jennifer Giff (’95), Advisory Council
  • April Olson (’06), Advisory Council
  • Nikki Borchardt Campbell (’09), Advisory Council
  • Judith Dworkin (ASU Law ’86),  Advisory Council
  • Maria Dadgar, Advisory Council
  • Claudeen Bates Arthur (’74)
  • Gloria Kindig (’89)
  • Diane Enos (’92)
  • Debra Gee (’94)
  • Doreen Nanibaa McPaul (’01)
  • Lydelle Davies (’02)
  • Diandra Benally (’05)

Stay tuned for more updates to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Note: Photo cover of Kate and Patty were photographed separately with full safety measures and edited post-production.

________

Content creator & photo credit: Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law