Saturday, January 24, 2009

ACLU Declines To Take On Voting Rights, Free Speech Cases

Feather News

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut has responded to the editor of the Feather News, Ken Davison, saying they cannot assist in the voting rights case being heard in the Mohegan Tribal Court.

In Kenneth Davison v. The Mohegan Tribe Election Committee,, the constitutionality of requiring Tribal members to vote for all elective positions in any given Tribal election is at issue.

Davison asserts, among other things, that requiring Tribal members to vote for all seats up for election is a violation of Tribal members' free speech rights and also violates the Constitution's voting clause which states that voters "shall be entitled to cast one vote for each elective position available."

Davison filed the Tribal Court complaint on September 15, 2008.

Davison voted for three candidates in the past two election run-offs in which four elective positions were available. Davison is representing himself pro-se, without an attorney. The Tribe has engaged three outside attorneys in their defense.

The Tribal Court judge denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the case and a trial date has been set for March 2, 2009.

The ACLU also reviewed information from Brokenwing's free press case and cannot assist with that case either. Brokenwing is also representing himself pro-se in Tribal Court. The Tribe has engaged one outside attorney and two staff attorneys for their defense.

"We cannot help you with the assistance you requested because the Mohegan Tribe is a sovereign nation. Additionally, we do not have the resources or expertise in this area to accept your case," according to the letter signed by ACLU staff attorney David McGuire.