Sovereignty Blog Posts

Written by affiliate scholar Lawrence Roberts. 

Today, the Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, a case involving whether Oklahoma maintains criminal jurisdiction over crimes involving Indians within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation boundaries. The State of Oklahoma and the Trump Administration maintained that the Tribe's reservation no longer existed and therefore the State of Oklahoma possesed criminal jurisdiction over McGirt. The Court, by a 5-4 vote, reaffirmed the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s treaty reserved reservation boundaries and held that the State did not have criminal jurisdiction over McGirt.

Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch framed the case in historical context:

On the far end of the Trail of Tears was

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