WHAT HAPPENED: In 1882, Congress passed a law that granted ownership of a certain parcel of Native American land to American settlers.  That parcel of land, which was owned by the Omaha Tribe, became Pender, Nebraska.  Recently, the Omaha Tribe sought to enforce taxes and liquor licenses on local alcohol vendors on that parcel of land.  Pender and the State of Nebraska sought and received an injunction blocking the Tribes regulations.  That injunction was overturned at the Circuit level, ruling in favor of the Tribe’s ownership of the land.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  The Supreme Court’s unenviable task is to look at the 1882 law and determine whether or not that law passes the Court’s existing review for 19th Century Congressional acts that sold Native American Land.  This standard comes from the case of Solem v. Bartlett, which considers (1)  the language of the federal law at issue, (2) the history of the passage of the law, (3) and the treatment of the land afterward.  The Circuit Court decision stated that there was not conclusive evidence that this test favored Pender and Nebraska, which would revert the Congressional grant of land back to the Omaha Tribe.

WHAT IS THE RULING:  This case is not yet decided.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION:  The people most at issue here are the parties in this case, as it is unlikely that this case will extend to other cases or other grants of land.  If the Court overturns the Circuit Court and favors Nebraska, it could signal the Court’s movement away from the old standard of review, but that would depend on the specific opinion.

ROOT FOR NEBRASKA IF:  You sell alcohol in Pender, Nebraska, or are one of the increasingly growing Americans who is unreasonably terrified of immigrants.

ROOT FOR PARKER IF:  If you have any recognition of American history whatsoever.


  1. Lane from Philadelphia says:

    Wait.. I can’t vote for Parker if I’m afraid of immigrants. The Omaha tribe was here first- we’re the immigrants.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s