Trump is being sued to stop him from shrinking Bears Ears national monument by 85 percent. Who will win?Breaking News
tags: national monuments, Trump
On Thursday, President Trump announced that he would slash the size of Utah’s newest national monument, Bears Ears, shrinking by 85 percent land that President Barack Obama had declared protected in 2016. In response, five Indian tribes sued over Trump’s move in federal court. The tribes claim significant ancestral ties to this land and oversee the area in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management. They argue that although Congress delegated power to the president under the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments, it did not give the power to revoke them.
The Bears Ears suit follows several other tribal legal challenges this year against the federal government, including efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and to improve health care on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. All of the tribes’ legal challenges this year have failed. That bodes poorly for the five tribes that have taken the Trump administration to court over Bears Ears.Native tribes exist in an odd semi-sovereign legal state, which often pits tribal rights against the rights of states, or the authority of the federal government, or both. Such conflicts are frequently resolved in the courts — where the odds are not in the tribes’ favor.