It feels as if I've written about this case before, but today the 11th Circuit affirmed Judge Gold's refusal to quash IRS subpoenas to the tribe's banks and financial institutions.
Here's what Judge Pryor had to say about tribal immunity:
The claim to tribal sovereign immunity here fails for two reasons. First, the summonses are not suits against the Tribe. Second, tribal sovereign immunity cannot bar a suit by the United States.The first point seems hypertechnical, but the second point really closes the door on the doctrine when you're dealing with the US government:
The Supreme Court has described tribal sovereign immunity as having passed to the United States to be held for the benefit of the tribes, much like the tribal lands. United States v. U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co., 309 U.S. 506, 512, 60 S. Ct. 653, 656 (1940). Indian tribes may not rely on tribal sovereign immunity to bar a suit by a superior sovereign.And we know what happened to the tribal lands.
Query if this decision will impact the ongoing dispute between the tribe and its former lawyers?