Supreme Court Rules on Authority of Tribal Police to Stop Non-Indians [June 11, 2021] [open pdf - 658KB]
From the Document: "On June 1, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously held in 'United States v. Cooley' [hyperlink] ('Cooley') that Indian tribal law enforcement officers may stop, search, and temporarily detain a non-Indian motorist traveling on a public highway within an Indian reservation if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the motorist has violated or will violate federal or state law. The Court held that the source of this power is an Indian tribe's retained inherent authority to protect public safety. In reaching this conclusion, the opinion draws upon earlier decisions of the Court, particularly 'Montana v. United States' [hyperlink] ('Montana'). In 'Montana,' the Court noted that, although tribes generally retain no authority over the conduct of non-Indians on fee land within a reservation, they do retain some authority over 'conduct [that] threatens or has some direct effect on . . . the health or welfare of the tribe.' The Supreme Court's decision in 'Cooley' reverses a decision [hyperlink] of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit discussed in an earlier Legal Sidebar [hyperlink]. After a brief summary of background on tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians, this Sidebar discusses the Court's decision in 'Cooley' and identifies possible considerations for Congress."
CRS Legal Sidebar, SB10608
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/