State Appeals Federal Court Ruling In Micmac Case

January 4, 2006

Attorney General Steve Rowe announced today that the State has appealed a federal court decision that struck down Maine's 1989 Micmac Settlement Act and declared that the Maine Human Rights Act may not be enforced against the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. The decision seems to leave open the possibility that the Band is exempt from other state laws. The potentially far-reaching impact of the ruling led Rowe to decide to seek review by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Rowe said, "Although the specific relief ordered by the court relates solely to the Maine Human Rights and Whistleblower Protection Acts, parts of the decision could be used to argue that the Band is exempt from other state laws as well. We believe it is important to have the Court of Appeals review the decision. Hopefully, that review will clarify the legal nature of the Band's relationship with the State. In the end, we must all work together and live as neighbors. Understanding the legal landscape is key to moving forward."

Rowe noted that all five members of the Maine Human Rights Commission favored an appeal of the lower court's decision.

The decision being appealed may be found at: