PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Supreme Court is continuing its deliberations on a petition asking that court action banning a former Lumbee Tribal Council speaker from involvement in any tribal activities be overturned. A petition is also being considered by the court that would strike certain conditions from a council-passed ordinance that allows the council to override court decisions.
The five-member Supreme Court heard arguments on both petitions, presented by Welford Clark, Wendy-Moore Graham and Sam Kearns, on Monday.
According to The Fayetteville Observer, Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Locklear said that parts of the petitions were worked out in closed session on Monday. He said that deliberations are still under way and could take as long as a week.
The court’s final decision, he said, could take as long as a week.
Locklear could not be reached this morning for comment.
In addition to Locklear, justices hearing the arguments on Monday included Francine Chavis, Tina Dicke, Wendell Lowery and Von Locklear.
In the first petition, justices were asked to do away with a court order that includes banning Pearlean Revels, a former speaker of the Lumbee Tribal Council, from all tribal buildings and property, serving as an elected official, and participating in tribal activities and events for five years. The second petition asked that sections of an ordinance passed by council giving the council authority to override court decisions be struck down. The council passed the ordinance last year following the court’s decision to ban Revels.
The petitioners argued that the court acted “unconstitutionally” when it banned Revels, the Fayetteville paper reported. Clark said he believed Revels’ rights as a Lumbee were violated because proper channels were not followed to hear her case. He also reportedly said that the court’s decision violated the Lumbee Constitution by not allowing the Lumbee people to decide if Revels should be removed from public office.
Revels was banned after being accused of stealing documents from tribal offices in August 2013. She admitted to removing a copy of documents that she thought was being prepared for the council as part of a memorandum of understanding that the administration would release the documents to members of the council by Aug. 30, 2013.