Supreme Court set for major showdown in tribal sovereignty case | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Supreme Court set for major showdown in tribal sovereignty case

With one tribe's sovereignty at stake, the battle lines are being drawn in one of the most consequential U.S. Supreme Court cases in recent history.

The justices will hear Carpenter v. Murphy on November 27. The outcome in the closely-watched dispute will determine whether the reservation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation continues to exist.

But the tribe won't be able to count on the expertise of one key member of the court as it defends the reservation from an "all-out assault" by the state of Oklahoma. That's because Justice Neil Gorsuch, whose nomination drew unprecedented support in Indian Country last year, has consistently bowed out of all proceedings in the matter.

Gorsuch did not participate in the high court's May 21 decision to grant the Carpenter petition even though he has direct experience in reservation boundary cases. In his prior role as a federal appellate judge, he ruled in favor of the Ute Tribe in a long-running dispute with the state of Utah.

And Gorsuch didn't rule on a motion, approved on Tuesday, that allows the Trump administration to take part in the upcoming hearing. That's another negative mark, because the Department of Justice plans to argue that the Creek Reservation was "disestablished" by Congress and therefore is subject to the state of Oklahoma's jurisdiction.

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