Alex Tallchief Skibine has published “Incorporation Without Assimilation: Legislating Tribal Civil Jurisdiction over Nonmembers” in the UCLA Law Review Discourse.
For the last forty years the U.S. Supreme Court has been engaged in a measured attack on the sovereignty of Indian tribes when it comes to tribal court jurisdiction over people who are not members of the tribe asserting that jurisdiction. The U.S. Congress has already enacted legislation partially restoring some tribal courts’ criminal jurisdiction over nonmembers. This Article proposes to legislatively reconfirm the civil jurisdiction of tribal courts over such nonmembers. After examining the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in this area and summarizing the Court’s main concerns with such tribal jurisdiction, this Article explores various legislative options before settling on a preferred course of action. The proposal set forth in the last part of this Article would reconfirm tribal court civil jurisdiction over nonmembers provided the tribal courts has established personal jurisdiction over the parties. However, tribal courts’ determinations on this subject would be appealable to federal courts. Furthermore, the Article proposes to allow nonmembers being sued in tribal courts the option of removing their cases to federal courts under certain conditions.