Still no decision from Supreme Court in tribal jurisdiction dispute


Native women rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on December 7, 2015, as the justices heard arguments in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Photo by Indianz.Com

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a slew of decisions in some closely-watched cases on Monday but Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians wasn't one of them.

It's been 161 days since the justices heard the tribal jurisdiction dispute on December 7, 2015. The case is one of the oldest on the docket -- only one case that was argued in November is older.

But the court is expected to issue at least one more opinion on Thursday, according to the influential SCOTUSBlog, so it's possible that a ruling could come this week.

At issue is whether Dollar General, a publicly-traded company that reported $18.9 billion in net sales in 2014, must answer to a lawsuit filed in the courts of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

The company believes it did not explicitly submit to tribal court jurisdiction even though it operates a store on trust land under a lease with the tribe. A federal judge and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with that argument.

The long wait for the decision stands in contrast to the court's handling of two other Indian law cases. The decision in Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. US was issued 55 days after oral argument and the decision in Nebraska v. Parker came 62 days after argument.

Still, Indian Country is used to long waits. During its October 2013 term, the court took 210 days to issue a decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community. The Dollar General case could overtake that record if a ruling doesn't come soon.

The court's current term will conclude at the end of June.

Supreme Court Documents:
Docket Sheet No. 13-1496 | Questions Presented | Oral Argument Transcript: Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (March 14, 2014)
Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (March 14, 2014)

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