A recent federal appeals court ruling limiting the powers of Oklahoma’s municipal courts reinforces the sovereign authority that Native American tribes have over their membership, McGuireWoods Washington, D.C., partner Mike Andrews told news station KFOR in Oklahoma City in a June 28, 2023, story.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on June 28 that the city of Tulsa has no jurisdiction to prosecute alleged municipal violations committed by citizens of the state’s five recognized Native American tribes, KFOR reported. The decision cited a landmark 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that state courts lack jurisdiction to criminally prosecute tribal citizens in parts of Oklahoma.
Andrews, also a senior vice president leading McGuireWoods Consulting’s policy work on matters impacting Native American tribes, told KFOR: “The five tribes of Oklahoma have not disestablished themselves, so tribal law and the concurrent federal authority is the law of the land, not the City of Tulsa and not the state of Oklahoma.”