Supreme Court hears arguments on jurisdiction of Indian tribal courts
Supreme Court hears arguments on jurisdiction of Indian tribal courts

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Monday. In Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments 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 Supreme Court decision in Montana v. United States [opinion] 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 on appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website], which had denied a rehearing en banc.

In Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt [transcript, PDF] the court heard arguments on whether Nevada may refuse to give the same immunities to other states brought into Nevada courts that Nevada itself enjoys. The court will also rule on the state sovereignty issue of whether Nevada v. Hall [opinion], a case that held a state may be hauled into court by another state without its consent, should be overruled.