U.S. Supreme Court Denies Hearing of Kimberly Craven’s Cobell Appeal

Rob Capriccioso

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that Kimberly Craven’s petition for an appeal of the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement on grounds that it violates class-action law is denied. In announcing the denial on October 29, the high court said on its website that both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan “took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.” Craven, a Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate citizen, appealed the settlement in August, telling Indian Country Today Media Network then that Indians “are just not getting our fair share for all the historical injustices, [and] loss of culture and economic opportunity for our people.” “Obviously we're disappointed by the denial, but we knew going in that the Supreme Court takes a very limited number of cases each year,” said Andrew Trask, a lawyer for Craven with the McGuireWoods firm. “The silver lining is that this brings closure to the questions Ms. Craven raised about the settlement, and should expedite the class members' receiving the relief their attorneys negotiated for them.” The court has not announced yet if it will take up a second Cobell settlement appeal filed by three other tribal citizens in September. Those appellants are Carol Eve Good Bear, a Fort Berthold Reservation citizen; Charles Colombe, a Rosebud Sioux citizen; and Mary Lee Johns, a Cheyenne River Sioux citizen. “We are one step closer to finality and having individual Indians paid,” Keith Harper, one of the Cobell lawyers with the Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton firm, said in a posting on Facebook in response to the denial. The Cobell lawyers argued in a September filing with the court that there was no conflict among the circuit courts on the legal issues Craven identified, so they said the Supreme Court should reject the petition. Dennis Gingold, lead Cobell lawyer, noted in a letter to Indian class members in September that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals previously rejected all of Craven’s arguments, saying they were without merit. Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazar said at a recent gathering of the National Congress of American Indians in California that he expected all of the petitions for appeal to be denied, and he anticipates that payments to Indian class members could go out by the end of the year. Under the deal, most Indian class members will receive less than $2,000, while the Cobell lawyers will receive nearly $100 million.

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darnellwhitsock's picture
Submitted by darnellwhitsock on
What, no comment for your favorite newspaper that will print everything you say, Kimberly? I have one thing to say to Kimberley Craven: how dare you waste everybody's time for the last 18 months while our relatives and friends die. You had no chance of winning -- zero - yet your monstrous ego and stupid-headed thinking led to what? nothing. even if you won, nobody would have gotten anyting. there's a special place for people like you Kimberly. you may now riside forever with the most ignoble, infamous indian fighters in history. those who fought their own kind - and lost. good riddance to you Kimberly and god bless Elouise

bootanner's picture
Submitted by bootanner on
I get where Kimberly is coming from, but the Cobell case wasn't intended on being the end-all and be-all of what is owed to us by the US Government. If Kimberly is so interested in the justice of our people, she should become the next Eloise Cobell and fight for what is ours. She should not hold up the already hegemonic process of the US courts. Hopefully this is all over and we can focus on other tangible ways to get what is ours.

tx2shields's picture
Submitted by tx2shields on
why isn't this headline being plastered on the front page of this newspaper website? where is rob cappricioso's opening of "in the biggest news to rock indian country..."? i really feel for those who think we got a raw deal but...this isn't a "judgement payout", this is a "settlement payout" for past accounting errors on part of the federal government. If you were so ripped off by government accounting or some other or another agency then you should have long been in litigation way before any class action suit...

biglodgepole's picture
Submitted by biglodgepole on
I'm so relieved this 16 year quest for justice has almost ended, an hope it's a new awaking for native people. The monetary dollar figure awarded dosen't even come close or compensates us for all we have endured. The awaking our sister has shown us, is we can prevail in the face of uninmaginal odds. It will take all native people united no matter what degree of blood mixed race or hue. This will be our challage it's evident we have the people with the heart stamia and intellect and only if we can find a way to include all of us and reject the division. Hope one day to see a beautiful first class city on one of our reservation for all in the USA and world to see,and awaking us and all to see a nation within a nation develope by us for all to share this would be another uninmaginal task of achievment. Biglodgepole PS Thanks to Elouise Cobell for history she has made

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
all of us are owed more than the takings kimberly is knowledgeable demand for the monies that are left over from masters appointment to oversee payout due you are a voice for many indians like me