2019-20 Term
Supreme Court Cases Related to Indian Law

Last Updated: 10/16/19.

Cert Granted

One case from the 2018-2019 term was slated for reargument in the 2019-2020 term. Zero petitions for certiorari have been granted in Indian law-related cases.

Cert Pending

Petitions for certiorari are pending in four Indian law-related cases.

Cert Denied

Petitions for certiorari have been denied in two Indian law-related cases.

Cert Granted

Carpenter v. Murphy
Briefs, Pleadings and Oral Argument
Docket No. 17-1107

Questions Presented: Whether the 1866 territorial boundaries of the Creek Nation within the former Indian Territory of eastern Oklahoma constitute an “Indian reservation” today under 18 U.S.C. § 1151(a).

History: Petition was filed on 2/6/18. Petition was granted on 5/21/18. Case was restored to the calendar for reargument in the 2019-2020 term.

Ruling below: Murphy v. Royal, 866 F.3d 1164.

Related News Stories: Attorneys respond to Supreme Court's questions about Murphy case (The Journal Record) 12/28/18, Casinos on every corner? No! How Carpenter v. Murphy affects tribal sovereignty (Indian Country Today) 12/20/18, On fear, parades of horribles, and emotionally potent oversimplifications in tribal rights litigation (Turtle Talk) 12/18/1, Could half of Oklahoma end up under Native American jurisidiction? (VOA) 12/10/18, Tribal officials discuss ramifications of Murphy case (Tahlequah Daily Press) 11/30/18, Supreme Court decision could restore millions of acres to Muscogee Creek Nation (The Norman Transcript) 11/23/18, Supreme Court opens new term with major Indian law cases on docket (Indianz) 10/1/18, Muscogee Nation clashes with state in reservation boundary dispute (Indianz) 5/21/18, Trump administration sides with industry in reservation boundary case (Indianz) 4/3/18, Appeals court won't revist historic decision in Muscogee Nation boundary case (Indianz) 11/9/17.


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Cert Pending

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. State of Texas
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 19-403

Questions Presented: Whether IGRA authorizes gaming on tribal lands previously governed by trust statutes that prohibited gaming, as the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Department of the Interior, and the First Circuit have concluded, or not, as the Fifth Circuit has held.

History: Petition was filed on 9/23/19.

Ruling Below: State of Texas v. Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. 918 F. 3d 440.

Sequoia Capital Operations v. Gingras
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 19-331

Questions Presented: Where an arbitration agreement contains a separate “delegation provision” that reserves for an arbitrator the authority to decide any disputes concerning arbitrability, does Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act require a court to decide any challenge to that provision’s validity before the court may proceed to address whether the parties’ underlying dispute is arbitrable?

History: Petition was filed on 9/11/19.

Ruling Below: Gingras v. Think Finance, Inc. 2019 WL 1780951.

California Trout v. Hoopa Valley Tribe
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 19-257

Questions Presented: Do states waive their authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act if they do not approve or deny a certification request within one year, even when an applicant withdraws and resubmits the request before that one year ends?

History: Petition was filed on 8/26/19.

Ruling Below: Hoopa Valley Tribe v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 2019 WL 3958147.

Buchwald Capital Advisors LLC v. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 18-1218

Question Presented: Whether the Bankruptcy Code abrogates the sovereign immunity of Indian tribes.

History: Petition was filed on 3/19/19.

Ruling below: In re Greektown Holdings, LLC. 917 F.3d 451.

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Cert Denied

Smith v. United States
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 19-5744

Questions Presented: Did the federal government’s prosecution of an Indian for violation of state law in Indian country violate federal statutes and tribal sovereignty retained by Treaty because neither the Assimilative Crimes Act nor any other federal statute includes an explicit congressional statement defining the Warm Springs Reservation, or any other Indian country, as a federal enclave or otherwise subjecting Indian country to federal criminal jurisdiction for prosecution of a state offense not specifically covered by the federal criminal code?

History: Petition was filed on 8/26/19. Petition was denied on 10/15/19.

Ruling Below: United States v. Smith. 925 F.3d 410.

Oglala Sioux Tribe, et al. v. Fleming
Briefs and Pleadings
Docket No. 18-1245

Questions Presented: Whether the Eighth Circuit erred in holding, in conflict with decisions of this Court and three other courts of appeals, that the possibility of filing a separate mandamus action was in and of itself “sufficient” to provide an “adequate opportunity” requiring Younger abstention, where plaintiffs had no opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of the preliminary hearing procedure in the course of the state’s abuse and neglect proceedings? Whether the court of appeals erred in holding, in conflict with three courts of appeals, that the “extraordinary circumstances” exception to Younger abstention applies only to flagrantly and patently unconstitutional statutes, but not to flagrantly and patently unconstitutional policies, and in concluding that separating children from their parents for sixty days with no notice or opportunity to be heard inflicted no irreparable harm?

History: Petition was filed on 3/4/19. Petition was denied on 10/7/19.

Ruling below: Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Fleming. 904 F.3d 603.

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