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Supreme Court hears arguments in tribal land, hovercraft hunting disputes

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Wednesday in two cases. In Nebraska v. Parker [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments onwhether the town of Pender, Nebraska, is outside Indian property and thus not subject to a tribal tax on liquor sales. The case involves the question of whether a 1882 Act of Congress that purchased land from an Omaha tribe diminished the boundaries of the Omaha Indian Reservation. If the act eliminated the boundaries of the reservation, then the Omaha tribe may not impose taxes on Pender residents. The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor [opinion, PDF] of the Omaha tribe.

In Sturgeon v. Frost [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on "[w]hether Section 103(c) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 [text, PDF] prohibits the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over State, Native Corporation, and private Alaska land physically located within the boundaries of the National Park System." The case specifically addresses whether the National Parks Service can restrict a moose hunter from using a hovercraft on shallow park waters. Hunter John Sturgeon argues that he has the right to use his hovercraft to get to his favorite moose hunting spot because the rivers in Alaska are not "federal lands" under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] in favor of the National Parks Service, affirming the lower court decision.

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