American Indian Sovereignty And The U.S. Supreme Court

Overview

"Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith," wrote Felix S. Cohen, an early expert in Indian legal affairs.

In this book, David Wilkins charts the "fall in our democratic faith" through fifteen landmark cases in which the Supreme Court significantly curtailed Indian rights. He offers compelling evidence that Supreme ...

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American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice

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Overview

"Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith," wrote Felix S. Cohen, an early expert in Indian legal affairs.

In this book, David Wilkins charts the "fall in our democratic faith" through fifteen landmark cases in which the Supreme Court significantly curtailed Indian rights. He offers compelling evidence that Supreme Court justices selectively used precedents and facts, both historical and contemporary, to arrive at decisions that have undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated massive tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian religious rights, and curtailed other rights as well.

These case studies—and their implications for all minority groups—make important and troubling reading at a time when the Supreme Court is at the vortex of political and moral developments that are redefining the nature of American government, transforming the relationship between the legal and political branches, and altering the very meaning of federalism.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
A detailed, thorough analysis of 15 US Supreme Court cases involving Native Americans. . . . The cases range from the well-known Johnson v. M'Intosh to the little-known Ward v. Racehorse, but all are instance in which the Court has mistakenly 'limited or terminated the rights of indigenous peoples.' In each case the author notes the errors the justices made and the 'judicial masks' that have often enabled them to ignore reality and morality. . . . Judicious and persuasive, he provides new information and insights in this important field. A must read for tribal officials, attorneys, judges, public officials, and others concerned with Native American affairs.
Booknews
Reviewing 15 landmark cases between 1823 and 1992, Wilkins (political science and American Indian studies, U. of Arizona) offers evidence that US Supreme Court justices have selectively used precedents and facts, both historical and contemporary, to arrive at decisions that have undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated massive tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian religious rights, and curtailed other rights as well. Includes a glossary of legal terms, without pronunciation. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292791091
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1ST UNIVER
  • Pages: 422
  • Sales rank: 1,298,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Legal Masks, Legal Consciousness
Chapter 2. The Era of Defining Tribes, Their Lands, and Their Sovereignty
Chapter 3. The Era of Congressional Ascendancy over Tribes: 1886-1903
Chapter 4. The Era of "Myths": Citizenship, Nomadism, and Moral Progress
Chapter 5. The Era of Judicial Backlash and Land Claims
Chapter 6. The Era of the Imperial Judiciary
Chapter 7. Removing the Masks
Appendix A. Cases Cited
Appendix B. Supreme Court Justices Authoring the Fifteen Opinions Analyzed
Notes
Glossary
References
Index
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