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Howard M. Shanker

Howard M. Shanker
Telephone: (480) 838-9300
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Howard M. Shanker has represented community groups, environmental organization, Native American tribes, tribal political subdivisions and grassroots organizations for about 25 years. In addition to being a Partner in the Shanker Law Firm, PLC, Howard is an adjunct professor at the Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law where he teaches upper level courses in Environmental Justice and Environmental Litigation. Howard is the former Chief Judge for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. He has also served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Grand Canyon Resort Company of the Hualapai Tribe. Howard Previously served a three-year term, as an appointee of President Clinton, on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council ("NEJAC"), Enforcement Subcommittee, where he worked to create policy to mitigate disparate negative health and environmental impacts on low income and minority communities. Mr. Shanker helped represent a delegation of the Navajo Nation testify at a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the issue of uranium mining and contamination on the Navajo Nation. Mr. Shanker also recently conducted government-to-government negotiations on behalf of the Navajo Nation, with the Obama Administration, on the issue of sacred site protection. In April, 2010, Mr. Shanker provided testimony to the U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, regarding protecting Native American sacred sites.

Mr. Shanker recently helped represent the Ho-Chunk Nation in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in cases regarding the application of a state based grave site protection law to burial mounds. He also recently negotiated a Consent Decree with the U.S. Dep’t of Justice on behalf of the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska. Howard currently represents the Sierra Club, four home owners’ associations, a Gila River Indian grass roots organization and others in federal litigation opposing construction of a freeway through, inter alia, sacred land. Mr. Shanker also represented the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe on enrollment, election, and tribal governance issues and has represented vendors and employees on licensing issues in front of the Gila River Gaming Commission.

Mr. Shanker represented the Navajo Nation, the Yavapai Apache Nation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe, and others in an effort to stop the use of reclaimed sewer water to make snow on the sacred San Francisco Peaks. Mr. Shanker prevailed in front of a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit only to be reversed by a split decision of an en banc panel. See, Navajo Nation et al, v. U.S. Forest Service, 535 F.3d1058 (9th Cir. en banc, 2008), cert. den. 129 S.Ct. 2763 (2009). Howard successfully helped represent the White Mountain Apache Tribe on issues of Tribal sovereignty in Elliot v. White Mountain Apache Tribal Court, 566 F.3d 842 (9th Cir. 2009). Mr. Shanker was also counsel on the case that helped protect the Desert Nesting Bald Eagle - a case that was joined by many of the Apache Nations as amicus. See, Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne, No. CV 07-0038-PHX-MHM (D. Ariz. 2008). Mr. Shanker was also counsel on many other cases including, in part, Save Our Sonoran v. Flowers, 408 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2005); NAACP et al. v. Maricopa County, CV 03-2409-PHX-EHC (D. Ariz. 2004); Sierra Club v. Dombeck, 55 Fed. Appx. 411, 2002 WL 31887831 (9th Cir. 2002 – unpublished), 161 F. Supp.2d 1052 (D. Ariz. 2001); Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service, 349 F.3d 1157 (9th Cir. 2003); Benchmark Resources v. U.S., 64 Fed.Cl. 526 (2005).

Howard is currently General Counsel to the Hopi Villages of Bacavi and Sipaulovi, the Native American Church of Shonto Arizona, the Hopi Election Committee. Mr. Shanker provides legal advice on employment, governance, election, sovereignty and other issues on a regular basis. As counsel for Bacavi, Mr. Shanker, inter alia, successfully litigated a "certified question" in the Hopi Court of Appeals that clarified the Village's authority to remove its Tribal Council Representatives under the Hopi Constitution. On behalf of the Village of Sipaulovi, Howard prevailed on a case in Hopi Court regarding the designation of Kikmongwi/Traditional Religious Leader. Mr. Shanker previously provided General Counsel services to the Tuba City Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Howard has been a guest lecturer at Berkley, Boalt Hall, Univ. of Arizona Law School, Vermont, and Indiana Law Schools. In 2008, Mr. Shanker was the Grand Marshall in the Navajo Western Agency Fair and Parade - he was also a candidate for U.S. Congress in Arizona Congressional District One. Howard graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., in 1989, where he attended class in the evenings while working for the U.S. Department of Justice. He also holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration, with distinction, and a BA, magna cum laude, from Pace University in New York. Mr. Shanker is admitted to practice in Arizona, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as Hopi, Ft. McDowell, GRIC, and Pascua Yaqui (inactive) Courts. His publications include, Environmental Justice Chapter – Most Frequently Asked Questions in Environmental Law (Maricopa County Bar Association 2011); Shanker, Commentary: Hormesis and Toxic Tort Litigation, Belle, Vol. 14, No. 2 (October, 2007); Human & Experimental Toxicology, Vol. 27, No. 2 at 117 (2008); Shanker & Gupta, Taxing the Environment, 27 Envtl. L. Rep. 10165 (1997); 74 Tax Notes 1451 (1997); Shanker & Hourcle, Prospective Purchaser Agreements Under CERCLA, 25 Envtl. L. Rep 10035 (1995); Ragosta & Shanker, Specificity of Subsidy Benefits in U.S. Department of Commerce Countervailing Duty Determinations, 25 Law & Pol’y Int’l Bus. 639 (1994); Shanker, Cogeneration and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, 2 U. Balt. J. Envtl. L. 111 (1992); 16 U. Colo. J. of Energy & Dev. 51 (1992).

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