The Supreme Court strikes again — this time at tribal sovereignty


Publish Date:
July 1, 2022
Publication Title:
Washington Post
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece
  • Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese & Gregory Ablavsky, The Supreme Court strikes again — this time at tribal sovereignty, Washington Post, 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.