MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 5, 2013

Tribal judge dismisses redistricting lawsuit


— Cherokee Nation District Court Judge Bart Fite has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a minority of Cherokee Nation Tribal Council members.

Tribal Council members Buel Anglen, Cara Cowan Watts, Julia Coates, Lee Keener and Jack Baker filed the suit to keep the Cherokee Nation from conducting the upcoming Tribal Council election under a new, 15-district map. An earlier suit filed by the Tribal Council asked the court to determine the constitutionality of the 15-district map.

“Today's ruling will ensure that this question can be quickly decided by our courts. The courts need to concentrate on issues at hand, not personal political interests,” said Attorney General Todd Hembree.

Hembree said the Friday ruling will ensure Cherokee citizens have time to register and become informed on the candidates in their respective districts.

“When anyone sues the Cherokee Nation, you can rest assured I will defend it as strongly as possible,” he said. “I'm pleased this latest suit against the Nation was dismissed and stand ready to defend against any future lawsuits.”