Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978)

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Author: U.S. Supreme Court

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Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978)

Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe


No. 76-5729


Argued January 9, 1978
Decided March 6, 1978 *
435 U.S. 191

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Indian tribal courts do not have inherent criminal jurisdiction to try and to punish non-Indians, and hence may not assume such jurisdiction unless specifically authorized to do so by Congress. Pp. 195-212.

(a) From the earliest treaties with Indian tribes, it was assumed that the tribes, few of which maintained any semblance of a formal court system, did not have such jurisdiction absent a congressional statute or treaty provision to that effect, and at least one court held that such jurisdiction did not exist. Pp. 196-201.

(b) Congress’ actions during the 19th century reflected that body’s belief that Indian tribes do not have inherent criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. Pp. 201-206.

(c) The presumption, commonly shared by Congress, the Executive Branch, and lower federal courts, that tribal courts have no power to try non-Indians, carries considerable weight. P. 206.

(d) By submitting to the overriding sovereignty of the United States, Indian tribes necessarily yield the power to try non-Indians except in a manner acceptable to Congress, a fact which seems to be recognized by the Treaty of Point Elliott, signed by the Suquamish Indian Tribe. Pp. 206 211.

544 F.2d 1007 (Oliphant judgment), and Belgarde judgment, reversed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., joined, post p. 212. BRENNAN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the cases.

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Chicago: U.S. Supreme Court, "Syllabus," Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978) in 435 U.S. 191 435 U.S. 192. Original Sources, accessed April 20, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DACRFZGI36FRE6Q.

MLA: U.S. Supreme Court. "Syllabus." Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978), in 435 U.S. 191, page 435 U.S. 192. Original Sources. 20 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DACRFZGI36FRE6Q.

Harvard: U.S. Supreme Court, 'Syllabus' in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978). cited in 1978, 435 U.S. 191, pp.435 U.S. 192. Original Sources, retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DACRFZGI36FRE6Q.