Justice Antonin Scalia
, a consistent anti-tribal voice on the U.S. Supreme Court
, was found dead in Texas on Saturday, The San Antonio Express-News
reported. He was 79.
Scalia's passing leaves a significant void on the nation's highest court. The justices have a record four Indian law cases on the docket, with decisions pending in three of those.
The court already decided Menominee
Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. US
, a contract support costs case that went against the Menominee Nation
. The decision to limit the tribe's claims to self-determination shortfalls at the Indian Health Service
In December, the justices heard Dollar
General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
, a tribal jurisdiction case, but they haven't issued a decision. The lack of a ninth justice could affect the outcome of the case, with a 4-4 decision or better resulting in a victory for the sovereignty of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The court also already heard Nebraska
and even Scalia appeared to be skeptical of attempts to diminish the reservation of the Omaha Tribe
But a decision hasn't been issued.
The fourth case, US v.
Bryant, will determine whether tribal convictions can be used in federal courts. Briefs are still being accepted.
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