Justice Dept. Goes Judge Shopping
Our Justice Department at work: When a federal judge rules against the government, don’t bother to comply with the judge’s rulings. Just look for another judge.
Nine years ago, native Americans sued the Interior Department, alleging that the department had mismanaged royalties from their lands for a century. Their complaints are bolstered by congressional findings that the department had failed to make an adequate accounting of 260,000 Indian trust accounts containing $400 million, and by Sen. John McCain, who says the government “never really even made any serious attempt at keeping track of the revenues” it owed to native Americans.
District Judge Royce Lamberth, presiding over the ligitation, has been critical of the Interior Department’s failure to account for the money it owes to tribes. The Justice Department faults Judge Lamberth for holding Interior Secretary Gale Norton in contempt of court and for reminding the government that it has a shameful history of swindling native Americans.
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