Indianz.Com > News > Tim Giago: A Native justice for the U.S. Supreme Court
Tim Giago
Tim Giago. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today
Where is the Lakota cavalry?
Friday, March 11, 2022

There are times I write a column just to alert the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association, the Native American Rights Fund, tribal leaders, and any other tribal organizations that there is a WRONG out there and it is a WRONG that needs to be addressed.

I am always amazed when not one of the above name organizations or tribal leaders sees it as a problem and never addresses it.

Let me give you an example. Several years ago I wrote about a book called “The Brethren” written by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong. The book was one of the best books ever written about the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the book they did a little piece on Chief Justice William Rehnquist. It seems that the good judge kept a little file where he kept cases for and against Native Americans. He called it his “Shit file.” Now just that attitude alone by a Supreme Court Justice should have had all Native American organizations up in arms.

U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen behind protective fencing from 2nd Street NE in Washington, D.C. The fencing was installed following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The fencing has since been removed. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

This comes to mind because there has never been a Native American on the Supreme Court in its history. Natives have been here long before there was a Supreme Court and at a time when the Court had an empty seat why were there no Native organizations rattling the cages of Biden to get a Native American on the court, man or woman?

No other people in America have had more cases before the Supreme Court than Native Americans. They have lost millions of acres of land that were tried by the Supreme Court. They have lost water, oil and gas rights. They have lost cases ranging from education to health. And yet Native Americans have never spoken out about having one of their own members on the Supreme Court.

The past few weeks while the Biden Administration was searching for a new member of the Court would have been a perfect time for Native Americans to get in their two cents worth and screamed to the high heavens that a Native should be considered for the Court.

Not a peep. You didn’t hear one shout or complaint by any of the groups I named that are supposed to represent the rights of Native Americans. Why was that?

When I wrote that column on the Supreme Court and brought out what Justice Rehnquist called his Native American cases I was sure that someone in the Native community would step forward and say that what the Justice said is wrong and cannot be tolerated. And so without a comment from Native Americans, cases involving Native Americans went into the “Shit file” of Justice Rehnquist. And as far as I know, that is where they are still being filed.

The Supreme Court was the final arbiter when thousands of acres of land, land sacred to the Lakota people, land known as the Black Hills, were stripped from the Lakota without compensation. Millions of dollars in gold and timber have been taken from the Black Hills since then without one penny going to the Lakota people. Talk about injustice from a court that is supposed to represent justice?

It is high time that those Indian organizations I named stand up and truly represent the people they claim to represent. We need a Native American on the Supreme Court. It is time to put that on your agendas.

In the meantime, all I can ask is where in the hell is the Native American cavalry?

Contact Giago at

Note: Content © Tim Giago