Rebooting Indian Law in the Supreme Court
Matthew L. M. Fletcher
Michigan State University College of Law
April 14, 2010
South Dakota Law Review, Forthcoming
MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-08
This talk, delivered as the 2010 Dillon Lecture at the University of South Dakota School of Law, argues Indian nations and advocates – and the federal judiciary – view Indian law through a reactionary lens, deciding major issues as the cases arise. There are a few mini-movements, long-term strategies on a particular issue, such as the Cobell litigation, the fishing rights cases of the 1960s and 1970s, and perhaps a few others. But even those series of cases could hardly be called a strategic “movement.” As a result of a lack of a viable long-term strategy, I posit that tribal interests are and will continue to be punching bags in Supreme Court litigation.
I offer suggestions on how to reboot federal Indian law in the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court. I will discuss cases or lines of cases that demonstrate how Indian nations can persevere in the Supreme Court, and suggest potential long-term strategies for tribal interests to pursue.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Supreme Court, Federal Indian Law, Indian Treaty Rights, Cobell, Employment Division v. Smith, Brown v. Board of Education
Date posted: April 14, 2010
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