The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] Monday in Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians [docket; cert. petition, PDF] on whether tribal courts can hear civil cases involving non-Indian businesses that have contractual agreements with the tribe. The case involves a sexual harassment claim brought in a tribal court by an Indian intern against the manager of a Dollar General store leasing property from and taking part in an internship program paid for by the tribe. While Indian courts do not generally have jurisdiction over non-Indian persons or corporations, at issue is language from an earlier case [Montana v. United States text] that a “tribe may regulate, through taxation, licensing, or other means, the activities of nonmembers who enter consensual relationships with the tribe or its members.” The case is an appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website], which had denied a rehearing en banc.
Also granted certiorari Monday was Bruce v. Samuels [docket; cert. petition, PDF] on the percentage of a prisoner’s income that may be used to pay court fees when they were not able to pay the fees initially. If a prisoner is appealing a single case, the Prison Litigation Reform Act [28 USC § 1915 text] caps the repayment rate at 20 percent of their monthly income. But this case involves prisoners who are appealing multiple cases, and the question is whether the law limits the percentage to 20 percent for each case or for all a prisoner’s cases combined. Circuit courts have split on the issue, with the DC, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits holding that the cap is 20 percent for each case and the Second and Fourth Circuits holding that the cap is 20 percent combined.