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Legal Standing at Standing Rock

March 10th 2017

Scales of Justice

Sometimes the courts get it wrong. This becomes obvious when two different courts reach different conclusions on similar issues. Such as who has legal standing.

Take the case of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Last month, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a joint motion with the Cheyenne River Sioux. The motion dealt with the legal battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline.  According to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the tribe had legal standing in the matter.

But back in 2012, the U.S. District Court for North Dakota ruled the Standing Rock Sioux and the Spirit Lake Sioux had no legal standing in a different court battle.

The tribes sued over the University of North Dakota nickname: the Fighting Sioux. In 1969, the tribes gave the school permanent rights to use the nickname. They considered it an honor. Judge Ralph Erickson ruled the tribes had no legal standing in the matter. But the NCAA did. The NCAA argued the Fighting Sioux nickname was offensive and should be changed. Judge Erickson, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame – home to the Fighting Irish – ruled in favor of the NCAA.


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