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Nebraska Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments Over Whiteclay Beer Stores


On August 29, 2017 the NE S Ct scheduled for Oral Argument as the 1st Case of the 2017-18 Term of Court, a case involving denial of liquor licenses for four retailers in a little Hamlet on the Nebraska South Dakota border. Sales are almost exclusively to Oglala Lakota Sioux Native Americans who live in South Dakota on the Fine Reach Reservation. The Oglala Lakota or the primary Native American tribe to engage and defeat Gen. George Armstrong Custer in the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Domina Law Group pc llo coordinated with Native Americans from Pine Ridge, and elsewhere, to attempt to end the existence of four retail beer stores in tiny Whiteclay on the Nebraska/South Dakota border. Though Whiteclay’s population was 8 or 9 persons at the time of an April 2017 decisive hearing, the stores were selling 3.5 million to 4.0 million cans of beer per year. Domina Law Group's clients were volunteers who resided in Sheridan County Nebraska and agreed to protest renewal of the liquor licenses. The case is now before the Nebraska Supreme Court. All briefs of all parties, including Domina Law Group, can be viewed here (PDF).

Dave Domina selected, and in many instances found, the evidence, organized the case, prepared and presented the pleadings, put on the evidence, and made to the arguments for closing the Beer Stores. 113 years after a Presidential action put the beer stores in business, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission closed them. Domina Law’s clients won.

Liquor sales have decimated the Oglala Lakota people. Whiteclay is widely viewed as a shameful place. President Chester Arthur attempted to help them by diminishing beer sales in 1882. The United States Congress twice passed buffer zones to forestall sales of liquor to native people of the Oglala Lakota nation. President Theodore Roosevelt took action over Oglala objections that facilitated liquor sales. Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Bill Clinton made personal visits to the Reservation and offered programmatic help.

This legal case is a matter of great importance in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Indian Country everywhere. It is also a major human interest story. The University of Nebraska College of Journalism won the coveted 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Grand Prize for in-depth coverage, defeating entries by virtually every major commercial Television, and News organization in the country for their coverage of this story.

Oral Arguments will be live-streamed for public viewing by Nebraska Educational Television from the Courtroom of the Supreme Court at 9 am CDT on August 29.

Watch David Domina's Oral Argument Here:

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