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DOJ lawyers urge federal appeals court to remove judge from Indian trust case

[JURIST] Lawyers for the US government on Tuesday urged a federal appeals court panel to remove District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth [official profile] from a case involving the alleged mismanagement of American Indian money [DOI Indian Trust Fund website] by the US Department of the Interior [official website] to "restore the appearance of fairness." Peter Keisler, an assistant attorney general from the Justice Department, argued that Lamberth is no longer able to be objective in the case and referred to a scathing 34-page opinion [PDF text] in which Lamberth wrote:

Alas, our "modern" Interior Department has time and again demonstrated that it is a dinosaur - the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and Anglocentrism we thought we had left behind.
As the 10-year-old case has moved through his courtroom, Lamberth has at different times held two Interior secretaries in contempt and forced the department to protect Indian files by disconnecting its computers from the Internet [JURIST report]. Many of his rulings have been overturned on appeal [JURIST report].

The government first sought to have Lamberth removed [JURIST report] from the case last July after he handed down the above decision, where he ordered the department to admit [JURIST report] to the plaintiffs [Indian Trust website] that information given them regarding outstanding lost royalties on earnings from Indian land may be unreliable. A decision on Lamberth's removal is not expected for weeks. AP has more.

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