[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday held [opinion, PDF] unanimously that a congressional 1882 Act of purchase did not diminish the size of the Omaha Indian Reservation. Nebraska v. Parker [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] dealt with the town of Pender, Nebraska, and whether it sits inside the Omaha Indian Reservation, which would make it subject to the tribal liquor sale tax. The court analyzed the intent of Congress in passing the act, including the the text of the statute and the circumstances surrounding the opening of the land and held that the legislature did not in fact intend to diminish the reservation. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority:
Petitioners' concerns about upsetting the "justifiable expectations" of the almost exclusively non-Indian settlers who live on the land are compelling ... but these expectations alone, resulting from the Tribe's failure to assert jurisdiction, cannot diminish reservation boundaries. Only Congress has the power to diminish a reservation. ... And though petitioners wish that Congress would have "spoken differently" in 1882, "we cannot remake history."The court heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] on the case in January. This decision affirms [opinion, PDF] the opinion of the US Circuit Court for the Eighth Circuit [official website].