Matthew Fletcher: Tribes couldn't count on Justice Antonin Scalia's vote

Native women and their supporters rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on December 7, 2015, as the justices heard Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a tribal jurisdiction case. Photo by Indianz.Com

Professor Matthew Fletcher of Turtle Talk reviews the Indian law record of Justice Antonin Scalia, who served U.S. Supreme Court from September 1986 until his death last week:
Justice Scalia’s death allows us to reflect on his Indian law record. If you were an Indian person or an Indian tribe as a party in a Supreme Court matter, it was very unlikely you would have his vote, although he did on occasion surprise.

Overall, during Justice Scalia’s tenure on the Supreme Court (his first case was Iowa Mutual), tribal interests prevailed in 21.4 percent — 12 wins, 44 losses, and 8 split decisions or no decisions. Justice Scalia voted in favor of tribal interests 16.2 percent of the time — I count 8 1/2 votes in favor, and 52 1/2 votes against.

Justice Scalia authored five majority opinions — all of them defeats for tribal interests — and he wrote three dissenting opinions — two of them favoring tribal interests.

Get the Story:
Matthew Fletcher: Justice Scalia’s Indian Law Record (Turtle Talk 2/17)
Matthew Fletcher Addendum to Justice Scalia’s Record (Turtle Talk 2/17)

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