The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled in favor of its clients in an important case involving religious freedom for Native Americans.
The Eighth Circuit’s decision affirmed an earlier injunction entered by Judge Karen E. Schreier that lifted a complete ban on the ceremonial use of tobacco in religious ceremonies by Native American inmates in South Dakota correctional facilities. The injunction was entered by Judge Schreier following a court trial pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. Judge Schreier appointed Johnson Abdallah attorneys to represent the interests of the Native American Council of Tribes in the action.
“This is an important victory for religious freedom,” said Pamela Bollweg, lead counsel for Johnson Abdallah in the litigation. “As the Court of Appeals recognized, the ceremonial use of tobacco has been central to the Lakota people and many other Native American tribes for thousands of years.”
Ron Parsons, head of Johnson Janklow Abdallah’s appellate department, argued the case before the Eighth Circuit.
Native American Council of Tribes v. Weber, 750 F.3d 742 (8th Cir. 2014).
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