(Originally published by The Washington Post on July 1, 2022)
Amid many momentous decisions from the Supreme Court in the final week of its term, the importance of Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta — a jurisdictional fight involving Indian reservations — may go overlooked. But its effects will reach far beyond Oklahoma and its land disputes.
The 5-to-4 decision, released Wednesday, blunts the effects of the court’s 2020 ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which reinforced that much of Oklahoma was, legally, Indian country, where many crimes were beyond the reach of the state and its laws. With its new, sweeping ruling, the court reinstates a piece of Oklahoma’s pre-McGirt power over this territory by upending the law on reservations throughout the country.
(Continue reading the opinion essay on The Washington Post’s page here.)