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Supreme Court rules in Inyo County case
MONDAY, MAY 19, 2003

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Bishop Paiute Tribe of California cannot sue county officials for seizing tribal casino records.

In a unanimous decision, the justices set aside a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the tribe hasn't shown that it can sue for violation of its sovereign rights.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote separately to concur in the judgment but not in the reasoning. He said it was "demeaning" to deny the tribe's right to sue.

The court sent the case back to the 9th Circuit for further rulings on the matter.

The justices didn't mention the tribe's sovereign immunity, which was a key part of Inyo County's claims in the case. The county said that state criminal warrants can be executed against tribal governments.

Get the Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Stevens]

Supreme Court Briefs:
Inyo County v. Bishop Paiute Tribe

Decision Below:
BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBE v. COUNTY OF INYO No. 01-15007 (January 4, 2002)

Relevant Documents:
Docket Sheet: No. 02-281 | Senate Testimony: Monty Bengochia on Supreme Court Precedents

Relevant Links:
Paiuite Palace Casino - http://www.paiutepalace.com
Inyo County - http://www.countyofinyo.org

Related Stories:
Case could upset sovereign immunity doctrine (05/12)
Oral argument transcript posted in Inyo County case (04/29)
Supreme Court tussles with tribal sovereignty case (04/01)
Supreme Court case too close to call for some (04/01)
County presses Supreme Court on law enforcement (04/01)
Supreme Court hears sovereignty case (3/31)
Supreme Court panel to discuss Inyo County case (3/31)
Ore. withdraws from states' Supreme Court brief (3/27)
Tribes and states stress cooperation not conflict (02/28)
Tribes enter Supreme Court case (2/25)
Inouye ties sovereignty to homeland security (2/25)
Showdown looms in tribal sovereignty case (02/20)
S.D. tribe to accept state subpoenas (2/19)
S.D. puts pressure on tribal sovereignty (2/12)
Supreme Court work at issue as judge debated (01/30)

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