This Note analyzes the primary conflicts among the order of the District Court for the District of Nebraska and the vacated majority and dissenting opinions of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Panel in United States v. Weaselhead. The Note highlights the tension in logic with which modern Supreme Court analyses of tribal sovereignty has presented courts, Congress, and tribal governments. The Note also discusses the potential implications of giving constitutional weight to Supreme Court decisions that purportedly diminished tribal sovereignty. After providing historical background necessary to place any case involving federal Indian law into context, the district court's order and the Panel's majority and dissenting opinions are summarized. Next, the major areas of disagreement—the source of tribal sovereignty and the nature of congressional authority over that sovereignty—are analyzed through a historical perspective. Last, because the Eighth Circuit did not decisively resolve issues that the various decisions in Weaselhead raised, the Note discusses the implications the Panel majority's vacated opinion would have had for future federal Indian legislation and policy, and the practical effects the opinion would have had on Indian tribes.
Alisa Cook Lauer,
Dispelling the Constitutional Creation Myth of Tribal Sovereignty, United States v. Weaselhead,
78 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol78/iss1/9