Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree and Assistant Attorney General Paiten Qualls attended the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Carpenter v. Murphy on Tuesday.
“Arguments made during Tuesday’s hearing by both Murphy and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation were persuasive and reaffirmed the tribe’s sovereignty,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. “If the U.S. Supreme Court follows precedent, it will determine that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation still exists in eastern Oklahoma and that Congress never disestablished the reservation.”
In the case, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from 2017 that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation was never formally disestablished. The case centers around the murder conviction of a Creek citizen who successfully argued that state courts have no jurisdiction over tribal citizens living within the boundaries of Indian nations. His state conviction and death sentence were overturned based on the argument.
The Cherokee Nation previously filed an amicus brief in the case, joining the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations in support of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
The State of Oklahoma is appealing the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.
Hembree said if the Muscogee (Creek) Nation prevails, the Cherokee Nation looks forward to continuing to work with state and federal officials in making safety a priority.
The U.S. Supreme Court could decide the case by early 2019.
You can read a transcript of the arguments made in front of the Supreme Court here.