Thomas Kicks Hornets' Nest As Justices Back Tribal Courts

Law360, New York (June 13, 2016, 10:02 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court revived a federal domestic assault indictment against a Native American defendant based on uncounseled tribal court convictions in a fairly straightforward unanimous opinion Monday, but Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence posed a number of thorny questions about congressional and tribal authority that could come back to trouble tribes.

In the court’s opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg overturned a Ninth Circuit ruling, saying that Michael Bryant Jr. could be constitutionally prosecuted as a repeat offender under the federal Violence Against Women Act because two previous tribal court convictions where he did not have counsel were conducted in accordance with...

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