Native women rallied on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices heard Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a tribal jurisdiction case, on December 7, 2015. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Supreme Court still holding onto decision in tribal jurisdiction case
Indian Country will have to keep waiting for an answer in a closely-watched tribal jurisdiction case.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued three more decisions on Thursday but Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians wasn't among them. At least one more opinion is coming next week, according to the influential SCOTUSBlog, so it's possible a ruling will be issued soon.

The justices heard arguments 164 days ago on December 7, 2015. Native women turned out in force to stand up for the right of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to hear a case that arose when a non-Indian employee of Dollar General was accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

"We need to be able to protect our women and our children," Bonnie Juneau, a council member for the Tulalip Tribes, said at a rally at the U.S. Capitol at the time. "Justice should be applied no matter where you live."

Justice, though, is slow moving. The case is the second-oldest on the docket -- only one that was argued in November is older.


Dollar General -- a publicly-traded company that reported $18.9 billion in net sales in 2014 -- 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 forthcoming decision should settle the matter but the long wait 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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