OKMULGEE, Oklahoma–Tribal and state leaders and concerned citizens across Oklahoma were tuned in as the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the McGirt vs. Oklahoma case on May 11. Tribal and state leaders have issued statements on the arguments and now all that is left is to wait for the justices to issue an opinion.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill issued a statement.
“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has full faith and confidence in the Supreme Court process,” Chief Hill said. “We feel tribal representation made our argument today with brevity and clarity.”
“The decision is now in the hands of the court, and we will wait for that decision.”
Hill is the second Chief to lead the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as the tribe awaits a decision from the USSC that could have a major impact on the citizens of the tribe.
It is the second time an appeal has elevated to the high courts arguing the existence of tribal jurisdictional bounds. And it is the second time the people most impacted by the question raised have waited and wondered.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has released a statement.
‘On behalf of the state of Oklahoma, I want to thank the U.S. Supreme Court justices for the time and attention given to this important case,’ Hunter said. ‘Regardless of the outcome in this case, I want to assure both tribal and non-tribal citizens, my office will work with our tribal partners to uphold our longstanding mutually beneficial relationship to benefit all Oklahomans.’
‘Finally, I want to commend Oklahoma Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani, who performed brilliantly under unprecedented circumstances.’
The cases sitting now at the USSC are now being heard through the lens of a public health pandemic. Justices and attorneys are navigating the strict procedures of the courts by teleconference like the McGirt case was.
The briefs filed in the case were stacked with historical references of tribal law. Briefs were filed by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation, the State of Oklahoma, amici curiae of Tom Cole, amici curiae of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, amici curiae of Former United States Attorneys, amici curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and amici curiae of National Congress of American Indians Funds all filed briefs in the case.
But it was Jimcy McGirt’s counsel Ian Gershengorn, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Riyaz Kanji, and Solicitor General Oklahoma City Mithun Mansignhani and Deputy Solicitor General U.S. Department of Justice Edwin Kneedler on hand for appearances during oral arguments.
Mvskoke Media will continue to follow the case and will follow up as soon as an opinion has been delivered from the USSC, which is expected sometime in June.