Monday, December 22, 2008

Prominent Attorney Joins Team To Fight Tribal Member In Voting Rights Case

Feather News

Prominent attorney Wesley Horton joined the defense team, along with attorney Andrew Houlding of the Rome, McGuigan law firm and attorney Daniel Kirsch, in an attempt to defeat tribal member Ken Davison in his voting rights case Kenneth Davison v. Mohegan Tribe Election Committee.

Wesley Horton represented the city of New London in arguing succesfully before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark eminent domain case of Kelo, et al. v. City of New London. The case involved using eminent domain to transfer land from a private owner so it can be used for economic development. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the city of New London. Many criticized the decision on moral grounds, viewing it as a violation of property rights that would benefit large corporations.

The eminent domain case is also the subject of a new book written by Jeff Benedict, the author of a book on the Mashantucket Pequot Nation called Without Reservation.

Horton joined the defense team in the Mohegan voting rights case on Thursday.

Tribal member Ken Davison is representing himself pro-se in the voting rights case, currently in the Mohegan Tribal Court. At issue in the case is whether tribal voters must vote for all elective positions on their election ballots. Davison asserts that tribal members should not be forced to vote for all elective positions on ballots.

In the last run-off election for the Council of Elders, Davison voted for three candidates. His ballot was not counted because he did not vote for all four elective positions available.

Davison believes, among other things, that forcing tribal voters to vote for all elective positions violates tribal members' freedom of speech rights and the section of the Mohegan Constitution which states that voters "shall be entitled to vote for each elective position."

Davison's amended complaint can be found under December 4, 2008 articles on the Feather News.