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Church of Latter-Day Saints Challenged

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Ruling on a request termed “incomprehensible,” a three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a restraining order or injunction against the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) for alleged violation of the “unspecified rights” of four plaintiffs.

The Corporation of the President of the LDS Church violated their rights in connection with the Ute Partition Act of 1954 (Act), contend Richita Marie Hackford, Nathan S. Collet, Opal S.Hackford and Richard D. Hackford. Other defendants include the state of Utah and city and county law enforcement entities.

Their petition to the federal appeals court December 20 alleges that the Act was fraudulently enacted. Long a source of contention and litigation, the Act initially terminated nearly 500 members of the Uinta band from the Ute Indian Tribe of Utah.

The Utes of mixed descent were part of planned federal termination of tribes but the program was subsequently abandoned and the disenfranchised former members have sought reinstatement as tribal members.

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The four plaintiffs failed to file an affidavit or verified complaint, did not demonstrate “immediate and irreparable” injury was about to occur, and failed to provide facts as required, the court said.