The email below went out on Monday from Elouise Cobell, lead plaintiff in Cobell vs Salazar:
On Monday, May 11, the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia will hold an important hearing on our case. We will be challenging the Aug. 7 ruling of U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson. He has held that the Indian Trust beneficiaries are not entitled to any interest on the $455 million that he believes the government failed to place in our individual trust accounts.
We will argue that we are entitled to interest on that money and say that his method of calculating how much money was not properly credited was inaccurate. The government has indicated it will argue that you, the trust account holders, are not entitled to any money at all. They will say that the government believes it has properly credited the accounts of all trust beneficiaries.
That is why this promises to be an important day our 13-year-old lawsuit. As you could imagine, hearings like this typically attract only the lawyers and government bureaucrats who have been following this case.
I hope you can join me in the courtroom in Washington so that it will be clear that a lot of Native Americans are deeply interested in this case.
“All oral arguments are open to the public, but seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis,” the court’s website says. “Doors of the courtroom usually open around 9:10 a.m. The first argument begins at 9:30 a.m. Visitors should be aware that certain cases may attract large crowds, with lines forming before the courtroom doors open.”
If you can attend, please come early as the courtroom has filled quickly in the past. You will have to pass through the courthouse’s strict security, so allow extra time. Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the courtroom.
The federal courthouse is located at 333 Constitution Ave., NW.
Thank you for your support.
Keep in mind that Alberto Gonzalez himself, of the Bush administration, stated that the total obligation from the trust funds to Native Americans might exceed $200 billion. Keep in mind what I argued in “Aboriginal Sin,” that the Supreme Court, in other Indian cases, has noted the appropriateness of settling such moral issues legislatively, not judicially. There is a new administration. Contact it. Contact your representatives.
For background on this historic litigation, follow the link at the top of the left-hand column.