High Court's McGirt Ruling Will Not Lead to Disaster
Native American Law attorneys Steven Gordon and Philip Baker-Shenk co-authored an article for Law360 analyzing the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's McGirt decision. The court's July 2020 ruling that the eastern of half of Oklahoma remains Indian Country means that Oklahoma state courts lack jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed in this area by or against Native Americans. As the ruling necessitates major changes in how criminal prosecutions are handled, it has faced heavy criticism from state officials. This article, however, contends that despite what the critics may say, "the sky is not falling in Oklahoma." The authors explain why most old convictions will not be undone and why the number of affected cases could be much lower than initially expected, arguing that ultimately, the resources to shift prosecutions exist and solutions can be found.