Another disappointing ruling by our changed latest Supreme Gorsuch. One can only imagine where this will lead in other Indian cases if the USA is bound to treaties written centuries ago. Better yet, apparently the issue had been ruled on before. So much for “settled Law.” Even better, wait until we have to give back much of the Southwest to Mexico.
The four dissenting justices said the majority was ignoring a clear precedent — a similar case in 1895 involving the same treaty language and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
Wyoming can’t abrogate an 1868 treaty with the Crow Tribe just because it was signed before Wyoming officially became a state, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case breathing new life into American Indian-U.S. relations.
The ruling contradicts a century-old high court precedent and could guarantee American Indians’ hunting rights on some federal lands.
The case was brought by Clayvin Herrera, a member of the Crow Tribe, whom Wyoming charged with offseason hunting in 2014 after state officials discovered him and other tribe members hunting bull elk on the Big Horn National Forest, discarding the bodies and taking the heads for trophies.
Mr. Herrera argued he was permitted to hunt on the land, citing the treaty that guaranteed American Indians “the right to hunt on unoccupied lands of the United States so long as game may be found thereon.”
Crow leaders signed the treaty in 1868, handing over roughly 30 million acres to settlers while retaining about 8 million acres.
Lower courts agreed, but the justices, in a 5-4 ruling, sided with Mr. Herrera on Monday, saying the treaty is good law. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, sided with the court’s four Democratic appointed justices.