Vintage illustration of President James Buchanan meeting chiefs of the Pawnees and Poncas in 1858.

A Reservation Attorney’s Thoughts on the Castro-Huerta Decision

Several members of the U. S. Supreme Court deem themselves originalists or strict constructionists whose duty it is to decide cases based upon constitutional intent at the time of its adoption as reflected in its original terms. This nation could not have made it through its formative years without recognizing its dependence on what were then powerful sovereign nations with whom a solemn pact was made and never to be broken. The recent Castro-Huerta decision bodes well for the elevation of state sovereignty. For tribal nations, not so much.

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Totem Pole

Delayed Justice: The Attorney Behind the Fight Against State v. Towessnute

The 1916 Washington Supreme Court decision in State v. Towessnute opens with the words, “The prior occupancy of American soil by the Indian tribes did not vest them with sovereignty or any title to the land that was ever recognized by the white race, the Indian being merely an occupant with possessory uses for subsistence, and a favored ward of the Federal government.”
Then it gets worse…

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Cover of NWLawyer

The Evolution of Tribal Law and the Janus Effect inside NWLawyer

The Supreme Court decision of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 311 is reverberating through state bars across the country. Along with the Washington Supreme Court’s “comprehensive review of the structure of the bar,” it’s easy for Washington legal professionals to wonder: How will this affect me and my work? […]

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