Turtle Talk Tournament: Greatest Cases in Federal Indian Law

Let’s have some fun. I’ve picked 32 of the greatest cases in federal Indian law (it’s my game, so my opinion on which is the top 32 — basically, I picked winners for tribal interests). I’ve seeded them (by date, how’s that for arbitrary) and placed them into a bracket. Vote for which one you think is the greater case. Use whatever criteria you want (e.g., most influential on tribal governance, most important FIL principle, my tribe won, my client won, whatever).

Let’s start today with the top of the bracket, the 1-32, 16-17, 8-25, and 9-24 matchups. UPDATE: Voting ends at 10:30 AM eastern Thursday, Aug. 30. Results revealed after.

Match-Up Number 1

(1) Worcester v. Georgia (1832) (31US515) — State law can have “no force” in Indian country


(32) Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter (2012) (11-551) — Pay CSC out of Congress’ Judgment Fund

Match-up Number 2

(16) Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez (1978) (436US49) — Tribal Immunity from ICRA Claims


(17) Washington v. Fishing Vessel (1979) (443US658) — Affirming Boldt Decision

Match-up Number 3

(8) Arizona v. California (1963) (373US546) — Indian Water Rights to Colorado River


(25) Iowa Mutual v. LaPlante (1987) (480US9) — Tribal Court Exhaustion includes Tribal Appeals Cts.

Match-up Number 4

(9) Menominee Tribe v. United States (1968) (391US404) — Treaty Rights Survived Termination


(24) Oneida County v. Oneida Indian Nation (1985) (470US226) — Non-Intercourse Act Land Claim

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Supreme Court and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Turtle Talk Tournament: Greatest Cases in Federal Indian Law

  1. Patrick says:

    Can you list the 32 cases?

  2. bethany berger says:

    thanks, that was fun!

  3. That would ruin the suspense. 🙂

  4. James Nye says:

    Where is CA vs Cabazon? That’s my all time favorable.

  5. Hah! It’ll be there eventually. It’s the no. 26th case in chronological terms — I seeded by chronology.

  6. ndnlawyer@hotmail.com says:

    I like it I like it. Great idea Matt.

  7. Chris Chaney says:

    How about Crow Dog & Williams v. Lee?

  8. Hey, it’s coming. Relax.

  9. Ross Cline says:

    toss of the coin to determine the vote. Each is important to the specific legal precedent

  10. Pingback: Results of Round 1 in Turtle Talk Greatest Cases Tournament | Turtle Talk

Comments are closed.