Supreme Court Notebook

Supreme Court says tribes must be fully reimbursed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says the government must fully reimburse Native American tribes for money they spent on federal programs.

The federal government had agreed to fully reimburse money tribes spent on programs like law enforcement, environmental protection and agricultural assistance, but Congress capped the amount of money earmarked for that reimbursement. The tribes sued, and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said the money must be fully reimbursed.

The high court on Monday said the Ramah Navajo Chapter and other Native American tribes must get their money back.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the majority opinion for Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito dissented.

Court won't stop lawsuit against tribal casino

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't stop a lawsuit seeking to shut down a Native American casino in Michigan.

The high court on Monday upheld a lower court decision that would allow casino foe David Patchak to sue to shut the casino down.

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, opened a casino in Wayland Township, 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. Patchak challenged how the government placed the land in trust for the tribe, saying that the move was illegal because the tribe had not been recognized by the government in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed.

A federal judge dismissed his lawsuit but the high court in an 8-1 ruling decided it could move forward. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissent.

High court says no OT pay for drug sales reps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled that sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies do not qualify for overtime pay under federal law, a big victory for the drug industry.

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the court's conservative majority concluded that the roughly 90,000 people who try to persuade doctors to prescribe certain drugs to their patients are not covered by the federal law governing overtime pay.

Two salesmen who once worked for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that they were not paid for the 10 to 20 hours they worked each week on average outside the normal business day. Their jobs required them to meet with doctors in their offices, but also to attend conventions, dinners, even golf outings.

High court sides with state in DNA case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has upheld a rape conviction over objections that the defendant did not have the chance to question the reliability of the DNA evidence that helped convict him.

The court's 5-4 ruling on Monday went against a run of high court decisions that bolstered the right of criminal defendants to confront witnesses against them.

Justice Clarence Thomas provided the margin of difference in the case to uphold the conviction of Sandy Williams, even though he has more often sided with defendants on the issue of cross-examination of witnesses.

Published: Tue, Jun 19, 2012