McGirt v. Oklahoma Background Materials

Merits Briefs:

Petitioner’s Brief

Amicus Briefs in Support of Petitioner:

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief Brad Henry et al

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief Historians Legal Scholars Cherokee Nation

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief National Ass’n Criminal Defense Lawyers

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center et al

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief NCAI

2020 02 11 Amicus Brief of Muscogee Creek Nation


Amicus Briefs in Support of Respondent:

Cert Stage Materials:





SCOTUS Grants Cert in McGirt v. Oklahoma [Creek Reservation Boundaries Criminal Appeal]

Here are the cert stage materials in McGirt v. Oklahoma:




Friday’s order list here.

News coverage here and here.

Federal Court Issues Order in Little Traverse Reservation Boundaries Case Bifurcating Merits and Remedies Phases

Here is the order in Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians v. Snyder (W.D. Mich.):

91. 2016-07-06 Opinion and Order Bifurcating Case and Granting Denying Plf’s MSD

An excerpt:

“‘Only Congress can divest a reservation of its land and diminish its boundaries,’ and its intent to do so must be clear.” Nebraska v. Parker, 136 S. Ct. 1072, 1078–79 (2016) (quoting Solem v. Bartlett, 465 U.S. 463, 470 (1984)). Even when a reservation exists and has not been diminished, however, a “long delay in seeking equitable relief . . . [can] evoke the doctrines of laches, acquiescence, and impossibility, and render inequitable the piecemeal shift in governance [a] suit seeks unilaterally to initiate.” City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y., 544 U.S. 197, 221 (2005); cf. Parker, 136 S. Ct. at 1082 (citing Sherrill, 544 U.S. at 217–221) (“Because petitioners have raised only the single question of diminishment, we express no view about whether equitable considerations of laches and acquiescence may curtail the Tribe’s power to tax the retailers of Pender in light of the Tribe’s century-long absence from the undisputed lands.”).

These two principles frame the dispute this motion presents: May equitable defenses lie in this lawsuit? To best answer this question and organize this case, bifurcation is appropriate. In the first phase, which will address the existence and diminishment of a reservation, equitable defenses cannot lie. If necessary, the Court will revisit the dispute at the second, remedial phase.

Here are the briefs:

Doc. 66 – Tribe’s Memorandum in Support of Combined Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike Defenses or Rule 26(b) Motion to Limit Discovery

Doc. 75 – State’s Brief in Opposition to Tribe’s Combined Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Rule 12(F) Motion to Strike Defenses or Rule 26(B) Limit Discovery

Doc. 80 – Tribe’s Combined Reply in Support of Rule 56 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment or Alternative Rule 12(f) Motion to Strike Defenses and Rule 26(b) Motion to Limit Discovery

News on the Northern Arapaho’s suit regarding state taxation & reservation boundaries

The suit was dismissed at the district court level because of the Northern Arapaho’s inability to join the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, which shares the reservation, and the Northern Arapaho Tribe has appealed. Our previous coverage is here.

Here‘s a news article from the Laramie Boomerang, thanks to GW.

Federal Court Rejects Michigan’s Laches Defenses in Saginaw Chippewa v. Graholm

Here is the opinion.

An excerpt:

These principles persuade the Court that, as a matter of law, the time-based equitable defenses Defendants wish to advance are inapplicable to the issues here presented and may not otherwise be advanced against the United States’s enforcement of its treaties. Consequently, Defendants may not rely on the time-based equitable defenses of laches, estoppel, acquiescence, or impossibility. In addition, testimony and proofs offered in support of these affirmative defenses are irrelevant. Thus, the United States’s and the Saginaw Chippewa’s motions should be granted.

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Saginaw Chippewa Reservation Boundaries Case News Coverage

From the Morning Sun:

A federal judge has temporarily halted the lawsuit seeking to define the land inside the traditional boundaries of the Isabella Reservation as “Indian Country” while he decides what kind of case Isabella County and the city of Mt. Pleasant can present.

A hearing is set for next month before U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington in Bay City, where the suit is being heard. The issue is whether the city and county will be permitted to argue that the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe waited too long to file its suit, and whether what the Tribe is asking for is impossible.

The Tribe filed suit in 2005, asking Ludington to declare that all or part of seven townships in Isabella County, and the northern half of the city of Mt. Pleasant, are “Indian country” as defined by federal law. The Tribe is asking for an injunction to prevent the governor, attorney general and state treasurer from exerting criminal or civil jurisdiction over the Tribe or its members “in a manner not allowed in Indian country.”

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Saginaw Chippewa v. Michigan Reservation Boundaries Update

Laches has reared its ugly head in this case of course. Pending are motions from the United States and the Tribe to strike witnesses and defenses relating to laches, impossibility, estoppel, etc., and a government motion for partial summary J on the defenses.








–gulig-report [michigan expert witness]

–karamanski-report [michigan expert witness]