Opinion

Opinion: Tribal jurisdiction provision violates U.S. Constitution





"The Senate-passed version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) violates Articles II and III of the Constitution.

The bill would authorize Indian tribal courts to adjudicate certain domestic violence criminal charges against non-Indians and to enter a final judgment authorizing the confinement of convicted offenders. At present, tribal courts cannot exercise that authority because, as the Supreme Court held in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe in 1978, tribal courts lack criminal authority over non-Indians.

Oliphant said that Congress could empower tribal courts to adjudicate criminal charges against non-Indians, but to do so, it must pass legislation giving tribal courts that power. Congress could do that by passing VAWA, but the problem with the Senate version of the legislation is that it violates Articles II and III of the Constitution in the process."

Get the Story:
Paul J. Larkin, Jr.: “Violence Against Women Act” Violates the Constitution (The Heritage Foundation Blog 2/14)

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