Despite lawsuit, many in tribal communities got exactly what they wanted from redistricting


MINOT, N.D. — Last week a federal judge ruled that a Native American tribe have standing to file suit over North Dakota’s recently implemented redistricting map.

“ND tribes win in federal court lawsuit,” bellowed a headline from KFYR, though that’s more than a bit misleading.

Nobody won anything. At least not yet. A judge just said the suit can go forward, an incremental victory that caused plaintiffs attorney Tim Purdon, who has leveraged an aborted stint as U.S. attorney under President Barack Obama into a career of winning mostly meaningless court victories for tribal clients, to crow about it to the news media.

When you live amid molehills, I guess everything looks like a mountain.

But we are at risk of losing some important context for this lawsuit. Partisan operatives like Purdon — a former member of the Democratic National Committee — would like to portray this case as one in which Native American voters were singled out and marginalized.

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