Clinton Speaks at Fort Laramie

On Sunday, August 26, 2018, Professor Clinton delivered a talk entitled Indian Treaty-Making at the Fort Laramie National Historic Monument in Wyoming as part of the Monument’s 150th Anniversary Celebration of the important 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with numerous plains tribes, including most notably the Teton Lakota.

Robert N. Clinton Publishes Video of His Best 2017 Monochrome Street Photos

Clinton Serves as Special Master on Same Sex Marriage Case

Justice Clinton served as a Special Master in the matter of Pablo v. Ak-Chin Indian Community, a case believed to be one of the first tribal court cases on the issue of same sex marriage since the United States Supreme Court landmark opinion on the matter. News coverage of the case can be found here. A redacted portion of his Report is available in the link below:

Ak-Chin Special Masters Report in Pablo


Robert N. Clinton Publishes Video of His Best 2016 Monochrome Street Photos



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Clinton Authors Op-Ed on “Natural Born” Citizen Requirement for President

Professor Clinton has authored an Op-Ed on the meaning of the constitutional “natural born citizen” requirement for President.  The piece questions the constitutional qualification of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and others to hold that office.  The piece was published today by US New & World Report and can be found here.

Jennifer Miriam Pavelich Clinton: After 5 Years We Still Miss You So Very Much — RIP

Jennifer Pavelich Clinton

Jennifer Pavelich Clinton

Five years ago today, my talented, beautiful, smart, and witty daughter, Jennifer Miriam Pavelich Clinton, passed away, leaving behind a grieving family including her husband Joseph Pavelich, her son, Noah William Pavelich, her twin sister, Erica Clinton and her husband Brent Never, her brother, Aaron Seth Clinton, her mom and dad and his partner Janette Silverman, as well as many friends, relatives and professional acquaintances who knew and loved her. She was a loving wife and mother while professionally serving as a fearless prosecutor devoted to protecting the victims of domestic violence and abuse. She was a tiny person with guts, determination, and dedication to the causes she held dear. It was a tribute to her impact on her community that her funeral was one of the largest memorial services I had ever attended, with over 600 mourners and an hour and half wait to get into the service and sign the register. Law enforcement officers from six counties were there to join us in mourning our loss. She impacted so many in her short 35 years and she is remembered fondly by them all. Jenny was a fearless prosecutor in a tiny five foot tall frame. At her funeral, one defense counsel with whom she often sparred described her as small but mighty; in his words “she would rip your face off” if you crossed her.

While trying so very hard to protect others, Jenny, like many of us, struggled for most of her life with her own demons. Ultimately, those demons got the best of her, despite her repeated efforts to fight for life. Jenny made clear that she would want those who survived her to celebrate her life and not her death and would want us to move on with our lives without her. Nevertheless, her death left a gaping hole in all of our lives that has been impossible to ignore. Every milestone, every happy event, every memory I wish to share, I immediately think of picking up the phone and calling Jenny to celebrate together, only to belatedly realize that is no longer possible. Not a day goes by that I do not think of her and miss her so very much. But, as Jenny would want, life must go on and it has for us all. Nevertheless, I light a memorial candle and say kaddish for my lovely daughter every year on her yahrzeit, I remember her at yizkor services, and I keep her in my thoughts and my prayers always. I cannot forget you, Jenny, and you are loved and missed by so many people. Jenny, may you rest in peace having gained the ultimate peace that your troubled soul so clearly sought.

While Jenny would have preferred that those who survived her simply move on with their lives and, perhaps, forget her, we simply cannot and have not. She will always be in our hearts and minds.  No one captured Jenny’s spirit more eloquently than our close family friend, Sheldon Kurtz, who delivered her eulogy. To remember Jenny five years after she left this world, I reprint Sheldon’s words of tribute to my beloved and dearly missed daughter:

Eulogy for Jennifer Pavelich Clinton

by Sheldon F. Kurtz

June 17, 2010

When Jenny Clinton died last Monday, a light was prematurely extinguished. a light that for 35 short years brightened our lives in so many ways. I was privileged to have that light in my life almost from the moment Jenny was born and, while each of us knew Jenny in our own but in different ways, all of us feel the pain of this immeasurable loss.

Jenny Clinton was born on November 2, 1974 and for a brief time after her birth, having been born second, she was simply known in the nursery as Twin B. For Jenny, this began a tradition that lasted throughout her life. She never made or was even rumored to have made an early appearance.

From the get-go, Jenny and her beloved sister Erica were inseparable. Fittingly, as the “big sister,” Erica was always there –in the early years with a bump or a knock down, but later always with an assist, a helping hand, and unconditional love.

Pat and Bob, of course, had their hands full with the twins, who soon after their births became triplets when their brother Seth came into their home.

For the Kurtz family, the triplets were our other children, particularly in the pre-junior high school days when we would see them almost every day. They were always a welcome addition to our household. None of the Clintons or the Kurtzes will ever forget turtle races in Minnesota or Fourth of July parades in downtown Iowa City where the five kids would be dressed in outlandishly created costumes. And, no holiday was complete unless we were all together. With us, as with others, Jenny assumed the role of the crowd pleaser with her incredible smile and gaiety.

After Lucas elementary, came Southeast Junior High and then City High. Because Jenny was a typical teenager, this is when she began to come into her own and all the parents in this room know what I mean by that. Throughout these years, Jenny always wanted to take control and she was always competitive. She loved creating clubs although she insisted she be both the president and the treasurer. She always had a keen sense of how she wanted things done and rarely brooked dissent.

She was the midget on the basketball team but played the game like she was a champion. This need to compete and be successful was exhibited in her early life when she and Erica sat in those bouncing seats suspended from the wall. Jenny was always the faster bouncer.

After graduating from City high, Jenny went off to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon where she met Joe. From their first encounter, Joe showered upon Jenny his unfailing affection and devotion–year after year. No man could have provided more support for his wife (and I might add better food) than Joe, and we, who loved Jenny, love him for all he did for her. And, then there was Noah, their special blessing, who daily brings joy and pleasure to the lives of Grandma Pats, both the one on Pinecrest and the one up on the hill. Noah, in his own way, early recognized the roles of his parents in his life. As he once said, “mommy makes the rules, daddy makes the dinner.” More recently in commenting on Jenny’s rule making he told Grandma Pat on Pinecrest: “Sometimes mom can be a pain in the butt.” He was right.

After college, more education followed, but birth order had to be respected. So, first Twin A, Erica went to law school with Twin B, Jenny, close behind. Here, I must say they did diverge, for Erica became the social activist committed to protecting the rights of the defendant in the criminal justice system while Jenny became the tough on crime hardliner. If I didn’t know better I’d swear she was a ghost writer for Law and Order. And, she loved her job with the Linn County County Attorney’s office. [Added at the service: And, I notice all of the peace officers in the room this evening.  I remember Jenny telling me how excited she was to ride around in a police car chasing criminals.  With the exception of something I’ll mention shortly it was one of her most memorable life experiences.] I still remember her excitement when she told me about the first case she tried. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a minor misdemeanor rather than a Class A felony. But, in her mind, they were the same. Going after the bad guys, making them pay and always watching out for the victims. She was so proud of her lawyering accomplishments and we were all so very proud of her.

Now Jenny loved to talk and debate and had opinions about everything. And she really didn’t care if you agreed with those opinions. She believed that if you were arrested you probably were guilty. She had no sense of geography and had a hard time placing states and countries in their proper places on the map. Yet, she was clear that Iowa City was the center of the universe and that everyone she loved should live here.

As a teenager Jenny developed a crush on Michael J. Fox and when she heard he was a republican she thought should must become one too. That one really hurt me.

And, while not wild about flowers, she loved animals, particularly dolphins. One of the great experiences of her life was going to dolphin camp in Florida and swimming with and learning about dolphins. She hated all mistreatment of animals. Perhaps it was her love of animals that caused her to become a vegetarian which is ironic given that throughout her life she hated eating vegetables.

Those of us who knew and loved Jenny also know that her light could dim. But out of respect for her own openness in talking about her mental illness, I am going to say a very painful and sensitive word: Suicide. We can never truly know and may never fully understand what led Jenny to take her life, but we know that if she could, she would have erased from society the stigma that exists around mental health issues, so that others could speak more freely about their burdens. And to those of you looking for a way to honor Jenny, I encourage you to make a contribution in her honor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I know she would have wanted this.

For Pat and Bob, I cannot imagine the pain and sorrow you feel. You gave her life, you gave her love, and you gave her support. The best of Jenny comes from you. And Joe, I know how much Jenny appreciated all of the love and support you gave her over so many years.

For Jenny, the light will never dim again, for those of us she has left behind, it is very dim indeed. But sadness is always temporary and it will pass. And, when it does, what will be left in our minds and hearts will be the memories of Jenny’s light that could fill a room with her joy and exuberance.

Jenny, may you now rest in peace, and may you light up the skies with your brightness as you lightened up our lives here on earth.

The Headstones

The Headstones

Clinton interviewed on KJZZ

LP’s Tribal Government e-Commerce Conference Featured on KJZZ

Friday, February 13, 2015

KJZZ-91.5 FM featured the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Indian Legal Program’s Tribal Government e-Commerce Conference. Foundation Professor of Law Robert Clinton and Traci Morris, director of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI), were interviewed regarding tribal governments and e-commerce.

To listen to the complete audio clip, click here.


Clinton Quoted in Arizona Republic

AZ Central Features ILP’s First Tribal Government e-Commerce Conference

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

AZ Central previews the Indian Legal Program’s first Tribal Government e-Commerce Conference set for Feb. 12-13. Professor Robert Clinton is quoted in the article. He says that because “e-commerce is a relatively new tribal industry, its quick growth has outpaced the understanding of many relevant regulatory and legal issues, he said. This has resulted in colliding state, tribal and federal laws and policies.” Read the rest of the article here.

Clinton Quoted in ABA Journal

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Foundation Professor of Law Robert N. Clinton was quoted in an article for the January 2015 issue of the ABA Journal titled “100 Years of Law.”

The article addressed the use of eagle feathers for religious ceremonies, restrictions placed by the government according to the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act and the subsequent difficulties in legally obtaining eagle parts. In past cases, these elements together have been seen as violations to the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Clinton discussed how such cases have helped show favor to Indian religious rights as well as the issue of Indians who are not members of federally recognized tribes. According to the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act, there are exceptions for Indian tribes to use eagle parts for religious purposes. This also brings up the issue of intertribal marriage and the blood quantum requirements that prevent some people from joining tribes.

To read the full article, please click here.

Clinton teaches and writes about federal Indian law, tribal law, Native American history, constitutional law, federal courts, cyberspace law, copyrights, and civil procedure. His publications include numerous articles on federal Indian law and policy, constitutional law, and federal jurisdiction. He is the co-author of casebooks on Indian law and federal courts, The Handbook of Federal Indian Law (1982 ed.) and multiple editions of American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System, Colonial and American Indian. He also is a Faculty Fellow in the Center of Law, Science & Innovation.

ASU Law Professor to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from Native American Bar

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Robert N. Clinton

Robert N. Clinton, Foundation of Law Professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ). The award is given annually to honor an individual for his or her contributions to the field Indian law in Arizona.

Clinton serves as chief justice of the Winnebago Supreme Court and as an associate justice for the Colorado River Indian Tribes Court of Appeals, the Hualapai Tribal Court of Appeals, and the Hopi Court of Appeals. He also serves as a judge pro tem for the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

Clinton has taught Indian Law for more than 40 years, beginning his career in 1973,when he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa College of Law.

“Bob has been an outstanding teacher and scholar of Indian Law,” said former ASU professor and past NABA-AZ lifetime achievement award recipient, William C. Canby. “One of the great victories of the Indian Legal Program at ASU was to entice Bob to join the faculty. He has been thoroughly dedicated to teaching Indian Law, and to working with both students and tribes to advance their understanding of the subject and to make use of that knowledge to their benefit.”

Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, faculty director of the Indian Legal Program at ASU, agreed that Clinton’s work as a professor has made enormous contributions to the field.

“Bob has been instrumental to the development of Indian law and is the most cited scholar in the field,” Ferguson-Bohnee said. “It is fitting that NABA-AZ recognize Bob for not only his tremendous scholarly contributions but also his dedication to developing and guiding future advocates of tribal law and federal Indian law.”

Colleagues have seen Clinton’s work in the classroom up close.

“I know Bob as a classroom teacher with a reputation for teaching at an exceptionally high level,” said fellow ASU law professor, Charles Calleros.

Two alumni of ASU’s Indian Legal Program also will be honored at the event. The Community Service Award will be presented to Diane Enos (Class of ’92), president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and the NABA-AZ Member of the Year Award will be presented to Diandra D. Benally (Class of ’05), assistant general counsel for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

The NABA-AZ Seven Generations Annual Awards Dinner and Silent Auction will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.