CLE Credit: One elimination of bias credit has been approved (#231037).
Description: Joseph F. Halloran and Michael L. Murphy from the Jacobson Law Group discuss two decisions issued during the 2015 October Term of the U.S. Supreme Court. In Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw,
an equally divided Court in a per curium opinion affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s decision that tribal courts have civil jurisdiction over nonmembers. This one-sentence decision represents a victory for tribal interests, as it preserves the status quo relative to tribal adjudicative authority over nonmembers. But it did nothing to establish a uniform national rule regarding the jurisdiction of Tribal Courts in the context presented in the case, and left open the door to additional litigation that surely will test tribal judicial authority over nonmembers who do business with a tribe or its members. United States v. Bryant
also represents a significant victory for tribal courts and their authority to address criminal conduct within tribal territories, and this time with an actual opinion. In Bryant, the Court unanimously held that the United States’ use of tribal-court convictions as predicate offenses in a subsequent prosecution does not violate the 6th Amendment when the tribal-court convictions were secured in accordance with the Indian Civil Rights Act. Critically, this decision reaffirms a long-standing legal doctrine that tribal nations, as pre-constitutional sovereigns, have inherent authorities that are not limited by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ultimately, Dollar General and Bryant confirm and highlight the central role that tribal courts play for the communities they serve.