Patrick Garry et al. on Tribal Incorporation of First Amendment Norms

Patrick M. Garry (South Dakota), Candice Spurling (South Dakota), Jennifer Keating (South Dakota), and Derek Nelson (South Dakota) have posted “Tribal Incorporation of First Amendment Norms: A Case Study of the Indian Tribes of South Dakota” on SSRN, recently published in the South Dakota Law Review.

From the abstract:

This article analyzes how Indian tribal courts have incorporated First Amendment norms within tribal legal systems. Given the more traditionally communal nature of tribal societies, Indian tribal courts have taken a slightly different approach to the kind of individual rights articulated in the First Amendment. As this article demonstrates, tribal courts have elevated community interest and values when considering individual rights issues. The ways in which those interests and values have been elevated may prove instructive to those who advocate a more balanced approach to First Amendment freedoms within the U.S. judicial system.

The article examines the legal obligation imposed on Indian tribes to protect certain individual rights, and whether the First Amendment applies to Indian tribes, and finally how the Indian Civil Rights Act applies. The article analyzes how federal courts have interpreted the Indian Civil Rights Act and surveys Indian tribal court decisions concerning individual rights issues such as free speech, free press, and free exercise of religion.

The final part of the article analysis turns away from reported tribal court decisions and focuses on tribal political, social, and cultural issues relating to First Amendment-type rights. In this respect, the article focuses exclusively on the nine tribes of South Dakota, exploring how First Amendment-type issues have arisen within those tribes and how they have been resolved outside of the judicial system.