Morgan Lewis offers in-depth understanding and analysis of the complex issues concerning American Indian law and policy, working to resolve disputes and facilitate transactions for both Indian and non-Indian clients. Our team assists in matters implicating tribal sovereignty, as well as the economic and governmental interests of native peoples. We handle matters related to land use, gaming, taxation, energy development, financial instruments and indebtedness, civil and criminal jurisdiction and tribal courts, and intergovernmental relations.
Our team includes some of the top authorities in the United States on American Indian-related laws, including the Indian Civil Rights Act and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. One of our lawyers was a congressional appointee to the Indian Law and Order Commission who served for a decade as the point person on Indian gaming for the California Attorney General’s Office. Another was deeply involved in handling controversies concerning Indian casinos while serving as a member of Congress from California.
Intimately familiar with the universe of issues surrounding Indian gaming and tribal-state compacting for casinos, our lawyers have a thorough understanding of the federal laws authorizing Indian gaming activities and the consequences of requiring tribes to enter compacts with states to engage casino-style gambling. We have represented numerous parties in matters involving Indian casino developments and have worked on major casino insolvency and restructuring issues.
Our team advises on highly complex environmental and land use matters involving Indian tribes, such as water rights, the siting and development of waste facilities, and energy projects, including a rare major oil and gas development approved on federal lands without court challenge by environmental opponents. We also have engaged in large-scale environmental litigation involving interaction with state and federal agencies, local water districts, private companies, and tribes, including matters with significant constitutional law implications.
Additionally, we have appeared before tribal courts, as well as federal and state courts, in disputes involving tribal leadership and tribal finances.
Morgan Lewis has won important US Voting Rights Act victories on behalf of American Indians, including helping to negotiate a settlement that provided for the first time that Alaska’s Official Election Pamphlet be translated into Alaska Native languages and dialects, and winning a preliminary injunction that blocked implementation of a North Dakota voter identification law. We also have represented American Indians who were banished from their tribes.