Tag Archives: Indian reservation jurisdiction

What the Supreme Court Got Right in Its Indian Tribe Ruling, by Ryan McMaken

No, the Supreme Court didn’t just give half of Oklahoma to an Indian tribe. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Jimcy McGirt was wrongfully convicted in an Oklahoma state court of three serious sexual offenses. McGirt argued that his trial should have taken place in federal court because he is a member of the Seminole Nation and the crimes in question took place on Indian tribal lands, which are not subject to state law in certain cases.

The court agreed with McGirt and it recognized these tribal lands as potentially constituting much of the eastern half of Oklahoma, including parts of Tulsa. The implications of the ruling are sizable, although not as sizable as the media is making them out to be.

The media is now filled with headlines like “Court Rules That about Half of Oklahoma Is Native American Land” and “Court Rules That Large Swath of Oklahoma Belongs to Indian Reservation.”

Headlines like these are likely to conjure up images of non-Indians being rounded up and kicked off reservation lands, homes expropriated, and worse.

But Thursday’s ruling doesn’t even come close to handing over control of private property in eastern Oklahoma to a tribal council. In fact, the court’s ruling explicitly states up front that the decision is narrowly applied to matters of jurisdiction in criminal law.

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