|Judge Henry Kennedy|
For the second time in 10 days, Judge Henry Kennedy out of Washington, DC has weighed in. Late on Friday, he dismissed the 8 year old case the freedmen brought against Cherokee Nation. So the Freedmen lost. Does that mean the Cherokee Nation won? Well, according to the Cherokee Nation’s Attorney General, absolutely.
Diane Hammons said that the order from the judge was “exactly what the Cherokee Nation had asked for.” News reports also quoted Smith as saying “Today’s ruling proves that when the Cherokee Nation stands up and fights for its rights, it can win.”
According to media reports, freedmen retain citizenship rights as part of the deal Crittenden, the freedmen and the BIA cut in Washington DC-- and Smith has some choice words to say about that on his Facebook page.
“Because Crittenden and his running mate Bill John Baker counted on the votes of non-Indian freedmen descendants, they willingly gave them citizenship rights just moments before a federal judge was going to rule that the Cherokee Nation didn't have to. Bill John Baker won't stand up to the BIA and the freedmen: when they could've won the case, they compromised instead.”
Baker, of course, says the Cherokee Nation won in spite of Smith, not because of him, and takes a less than optimistic view: "We should fully expect and prepare for the Federal Government to sue our Nation and Chad Smith has proven over seven years he's not up to the task of defending us. Indeed his actions have prolonged this process."
Then he starts talking about Cherforce One again and secret, unknown deals made by Smith. Well, S. John Crittenbaker’s deal was done in open court, and just because you give up sovereignty in full public view doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
So, in some ways this doesn’t effect our election. Even though the freedmen lost their case, they still get to vote.
In other ways, it really does effect the election! Remember the last two things that happened in the case, right before it got dismissed? 1) Grant voting rights to Baker supporters (who aren't Indians) and 2) extend voting after the election at Baker’s request (but only in Tahlequah).
If there hadn’t been a compromise by S. John Crittenbaker to give the freedmen citizenship and the right to vote along with extended voting privileges, it looks like Judge Kennedy would never have interfered, because afterall-- he was about to throw the whole case out! Oh, and we wouldn't be writing this blog BECAUSE THE ELECTION WOULD ALREADY BE OVER.
All we know for sure now is that Judge Henry Kennedy finally did what he intended to do on September 20th-- so at least now he can't be used by Crittenbaker, the Freedmen and the BIA to throw any more curve balls into this election.