The first hearing by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court on the eligibility of Julia Coates to stand for election and serve as Deputy Chief of the Nation was held yesterday.
A motion to dismiss filed by the Cherokee Election Commission was itself dismissed and the Court set a time of 10 a.m. on April 13 to hear the case’s merits.
Jamie Murphy reporting for the Cherokee Phoenix, covered the hearing noting:
The court convened for Coates’ appeal of the commission’s recent ruling that stated she was not eligible to run for deputy chief in this year’s general election. However, the court heard two motions for dismissal, one filed by the EC and the other by Tribal Councilor Jodie Fishinghawk’s attorney Evan McLemore. Fishinghawk was one of two people to challenge Coates’ eligibility.
The EC requested a dismissal based on the fact that Coates did not name the EC as a respondent in her appeal.
“The commission is a necessary and indispensable party to this appeal,” the motion states. “And the time to appeal and name the commission as a respondent has passed.”
McLemore also states that the appeal must be dismissed because the EC is a necessary party to Coates’ appeal.
“By failing to name the Election Commission as a respondent, Dr. Coates has denied the commission its statutory right to appear before the Supreme Court and present evidence, witnesses and make legal arguments supportive of its disqualification of Dr. Coates,” his motion states.
However, Coates’ attorney, Chad Smith, said the court gave notice to the commission to “provide a record of its proceeding and the commission has no further mandatory role in these proceedings.”
“The hearing before this court is de novo and the contestant and respondent begin over again with the question of Coates’ eligibility by presenting their evidence,” Smith states. “Its statutory role is providing its record, which it has done. The commission has no role in defending its decision before this court – just as the District Court and the Employee Appeals Board have no role in defending their decisions on appeal.”
After a recess, the justices denied the EC’s motion to dismiss and set the hearing on the case’s merits.