Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mormon Judge's Recusal Not Required In Case Involving Indian Tribe

In Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah v. State of Utah, (D UT, July 25, 2016), a Utah federal district court rejected the contention that a federal judge's membership in the Mormon Church should be a basis for requiring recusal in cases involving Indians or Indian tribes.  To support the claim, the Ute Tribe cited a passage in Mormon scripture regarding a curse on the Lamanites, which some identify as American Indians.  In the long-running case involving the extent of tribal court jurisdiction, the court said:
plaintiff's argument is conclusively foreclosed by the Tenth Circuit's unequivocal holding that membership in and support of "the Mormon Church would never be enough to disqualify" a judge.
The court also refused to disqualify the judge on various other grounds as well. Fox 13 reports on the decision.