The Osage Nation Supreme Court could issue a decision by next week in the case involving Principal Chief John Red Eagle’s appointment of his older brother Eddy Red Eagle Jr. to the Osage Nation Energy Services LLC Board.
The Third ON Congress filed an April 4 complaint against Red Eagle asking the High Court for a declaratory judgment stating Eddy Red Eagle Jr.’s board appointment is unconstitutional and violates the ethics provisions which has a section on nepotism. The declaratory judgment request is the first one sought by an ON government entity since it was passed into Osage law last year.
A Supreme Court ruling could set precedent on future appointments to ON boards and commissions.
In a written order filed April 15, Supreme Court Chief Justice Meredith D. Drent said: “The Court will issue its decision on or before Friday April 26, 2013.” She also said Chief Red Eagle has until Friday April 19 (close of business) to file a brief responding to the case.
Associate Supreme Court Justice Jeanine Logan will also consider the court complaint. The three-judge High Court has one vacancy yet to be filled.
According to Drent’s order, the Supreme Court will consider the question: “Does the Principal Chief’s appointment of his brother to the Osage Nation Energy Services LLC Enterprise Board violate Article X of the Osage Nation Constitution, which requires compliance with all laws of the Osage Nation, specifically chapter 6, section 207 of the Osage Nation Code, which prohibits Osage Nation officials from directly appointing persons related by blood to any employment position or directly supervising such persons?”
According to the order, the Supreme Court “has determined the interests of justice require the speedy resolution of the above-named matter” and set the April 19 filing deadline for Chief Red Eagle to issue an answer brief.
Congressional attorney Loyed “Trey” Gill filed the April 4 complaint and brief requesting an expedited ruling since the Congress must consider Eddy Red Eagle’s appointment by the end of the 2013 Hun-Kah Session. The ending date is April 22, but the Congress may extend the session by up to three days with majority approval.
Gill also wrote in the court complaint: “This question before the Supreme Court is in the public interest to answer as it will assist public officials in the performance of their duties in the future, and the facts before us are certainly capable of repetition by this Principal Chief or future Chiefs.”