Oklahoma Spent $10M to Win a Supreme Court Case
Native American Law attorney James Meggesto spoke with Insider about a Supreme Court decision holding that the state of Oklahoma has concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government to prosecute some crimes committed on reservations. The decision ran counter to almost 200 years of precedent and has significant implications on the meaning of sovereignty for Native nations.
Mr. Meggesto, along with a number of other Native American Law attorneys, noted that the state of Oklahoma's argument was exaggerated in this case and its characterization of the situation was falsely overstated. Mr. Meggesto said that despite the state asserting otherwise, there is "no tension between respecting tribal sovereignty and law and order." Similar to how states respect one another's jurisdiction over their own lands, the jurisdiction of the tribes, as sovereign nations, should also be honored and respected.
"Far from settling things, I think the court has kind of muddied the water now," he said, adding that he expects to see the tribes fight the implications through legislation or the courts. "One thing tribes have shown throughout all of this, they will guard their sovereignty and protect it very closely."