Oklahoma cases at the center of the Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s schedule for its first day on the job of the New Year was dominated by key cases for Oklahoma. (Photo by Anna Sullivan via Unsplash)

The US Supreme Court’s agenda for its first day on the job of the New Year was dominated by the name of one state: Oklahoma. The State’s plan to resolve the uncertainties created by the McGirt the decision involves a lot of discussion in court – but little discussion with tribal leaders.

The Supreme Court conference schedule for January 7, 2022 included more than 30 cases. Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor’s office has asked the court to review this session. Among the long list of cases whose names begin with “Oklahoma v. Many had been dismissed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals over the past year for lack of jurisdiction in light of the McGirt decision.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 in McGirt v. Oklahoma that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation was never properly dissolved, placing much of the native land of eastern Oklahoma under the jurisdiction of tribal governments. While the ruling specifically addresses jurisdiction over criminal offenses involving tribal citizens, the ruling has also created uncertainty regarding jurisdiction over taxation and regulation.

Congress has responded to the state’s demand for relief with legislation encouraging the state to work with tribal leaders on agreements to dispel uncertainties. But so far, Governor Kevin Stitt and the tribal chiefs haven’t talked much to each other.

On Thursday afternoon, the Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation issued an open letter encouraging Stitt to abandon his efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court ruling McGirt v. Oklahoma reversed. In his letter, Senior Chief David Hill encouraged Stitt to instead work with the tribes to develop collaborative agreements regarding shared economic and judicial interests.

“In the year and a half which has elapsed since the judgment of the Court in McGirt, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt hasn’t had a single meaningful discussion with the tribes to discuss ways we can work together to implement it, ”Hill wrote. “Instead, he and his allies used inflammatory rhetoric, misguided orientation and overt obstruction tactics to convince the public that McGirt caused “chaos”.

On Thursday afternoon, Stitt posted a video clip to the governor’s official Twitter account.

“Sad Broken Arrow Story,” the post read. “The two dogs of one family were killed by someone else’s dogs, but the McGirt The ruling prevents the police from doing anything since the other owner is native.

Case after case in the Supreme Court, there are briefs issued by the state attorney general and lawyers for the tribal chiefs.

Hill’s post also encourages the High Court to dismiss the state’s demands and encourage heads of state to work with tribes.

“If the Supreme Court ignores the precedents and overturns or changes this ruling, all of this progress will be lost to the detriment of public safety in Oklahoma and the integrity of the court,” Hill wrote. “The Supreme Court overturning or varying its decision now would also reward Oklahoma’s very bad faith behavior …

“The citizens of Oklahoma don’t buy the state’s man-made doomsday scenarios, and neither does the Supreme Court,” Hill wrote. “It is high time that Governor Stitt ended his political obstruction campaign and worked with us to embrace a brighter future. In January, I hope the Supreme Court will take the opportunity to tell it.

The court will rule in due course on whether or not to take up the cases. Friday’s discussion was dominated by cases that several states – including Oklahoma – have taken to court to challenge federal vaccination warrants.


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