Native Americans, Racism, SCOTUS, Sports, Supreme Court

Quinn’s Redskins Case Goes to SCOTUS — On Petition for Certiorari

quinn redskins.jpgWho can forget Quinn Emanuel’s victory in the 17-year-long dispute over the name “Redskins”? Above the Law readers will remember Robert Raskopf’s happy victory email … and the first-year associate who had a problem with the firm’s representation of the Washington Football club. The first year was (eek!) fired for reasons unrelated to his disagreement with the firm’s position.
But is the firm’s position as strong as Raskopf thought? The Blog of the Legal Times reports that the Redskins case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court:

The long-running dispute over the appropriateness of the “Redskins” name for the Washington D.C. NFL football franchise reached the Supreme Court today. Philip Mause, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in D.C., representing a group of Native Americans offended by the name, filed a petition for certiorari in the case titled Susan Harjo v. Pro-Football, Inc.

Was Raskopf’s victory email premature? More details, plus an UPDATE about the Native Americans’ game plan if SCOTUS doesn’t want to play, after the jump.

In response to the Quinn associate’s email about the Redskins name controversy, a “pissed off Quinn partner” had this to say:

Bob and I represent clients, not causes. We like Native Americans. If Native Americans had hired Bob, the Redskins would have lost the case. But they didn’t. They hired someone else. So it was incumbent on Bob to kick their ass in court. It is really that simple.

You wonder if that quote was “bulletin board material” for Drinker Biddle’s Philip Mause, who represented Native Americans — or at least some Native Americans offended by the team moniker — in front of the Court:

“This is a derogatory term for Indians that sticks out like an anomaly,” said Mause today. “No other group still has to deal with this kind of a term being used” in such a public and widespread way.

UPDATE: Kash wrote about this case for Washingtonian magazine in July. If the Supreme Court declines to take the case, Philip Mause has another play. From Washingtonian via True/Slant:

Philip Mause, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is representing the Native Americans, says that all is not lost: Another petition challenges the Redskins name. With a much younger set of petitioners — led by Amanda Blackhorse of the Navajo Nation — they won’t face the time delay problem that caused the other case to be dismissed, raising the possibility that this time the courts could decide the case on the allegation of disparagement.

It’s worth noting that Drinker Biddle is representing the Native American petitioners pro bono.
Will the Court grant cert? If so, the Washington Redskins will be happy to know that its own lawyers support the team’s cause.
Challenge to Redskins Name Reaches Supreme Court [The BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]
Earlier: Quinn Emanuel Associate Has Reservations About ‘Redskin’ Victory
Second Bar Failure Is Proximate Cause for Quinn Associate’s Ouster

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