At 10 a.m., the Court is scheduled to hear argument in Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle (07-411), involving authority of Indian tribal courts. Paul A. Banker of Minneapolis, Minn., will argue for the petitioner, and David C. Frederick of Washington, D.C., and Curtis E. Gannon of the Solicitor General’s office will argue for the respondent.
This is a case before the same trial judge as in Plains Commerce Bank in the D.S.D. This one is a slip and fall, but Farmers Union Oil the defendant in tribal court at Standing Rock. The judge followed Plains Commerce Bank and many other similar decisions in requiring the exhaustion of tribal court remedies, but then he took an unfortunate potshot at the CA8 opinion in Plains Commerce Bank:
I have previously cited in this order and opinion the case of Plains Commerce. I was the trial judge in that case. The case was affirmed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. As I read the appellate opinion, I was struck by the fact that such opinion would clearly and substantially broaden the jurisdiction of tribal courts in the Eighth Circuit. It would allow tribal courts to decide what common law principles were to be applied in tribal courts. This would be a significant expansion of tribal court jurisdiction in civil cases. In the past few days, I have noted that the United States Supreme Court has granted the petition of Plains Commerce for a writ of certiorari. Apparently, we will have further guidance from the Supreme Court.