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Supreme Court of the United States
October 2, 1978, Argued ; January 16, 1979, Decided
[*465] [***746] [**743] MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
In this case we are called upon to resolve a dispute between the State of Washington and the Yakima Indian Nation over the validity of the State's exercise of jurisdiction on the Yakima Reservation. In 1963 the Washington Legislature obligated the State to assume civil and criminal jurisdiction over Indians and Indian territory within the State, subject only to the condition [**744] that in all but eight subject-matter areas jurisdiction would not extend to Indians on trust or restricted lands without the request of the Indian tribe affected. Ch. 36, 1963 [***747] Wash. Laws. 2 The Yakima Nation [*466] did not make such a request. State authority over Indians within the Yakima Reservation was thus made by Chapter 36 to depend on the title status of the property on which the offense or transaction occurred and upon the nature of the subject matter.
[****7] The Yakima Nation brought this action in a Federal District Court challenging the statutory and constitutional validity of the State's partial assertion of jurisdiction on its Reservation. The Tribe contended that the federal statute upon which the State based its authority to assume jurisdiction over the Reservation, Pub. L. 280, 3 imposed certain procedural requirements, with which the State had not complied -- most notably, a requirement that Washington first amend its own constitution -- and that in any event Pub. L. 280 did not [*467] authorize the State to assert only partial jurisdiction within an Indian reservation. Finally, the Tribe contended that Chapter 36, even if authorized by Congress, violated the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The District Court rejected both the statutory and constitutional claims and entered judgment for the State. 4 [****9] On appeal, the contention [****8] [***748] that Washington's assumption of only partial jurisdiction was not authorized by Congress was rejected by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc. The en banc court then referred the case to the original panel for consideration of the remaining issues. Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakima Indian Nation v. Washington, 550 F.2d 443 (Yakima [**745] I). 5 The three-judge [*468] panel, confining itself to consideration of the constitutional validity of Chapter 36, concluded that the "checkerboard" jurisdictional system it produced was without any rational foundation and therefore violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finding no basis upon which to sever the offending portion of the legislation, the appellate court declared Chapter 36 unconstitutional in its entirety, and reversed the judgment of the District Court. Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakima Indian Nation v. Washington, 552 F.2d 1332 (Yakima II).
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439 U.S. 463 *; 99 S. Ct. 740 **; 58 L. Ed. 2d 740 ***; 1979 U.S. LEXIS 55 ****
WASHINGTON ET AL. v. CONFEDERATED BANDS AND TRIBES OF THE YAKIMA INDIAN NATION
Subsequent History: [****1] Petition For Rehearing Denied February 26, 1979.
Prior History: APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 552 F.2d 1332, reversed.
Reservation, Tribe, disclaimer, tribal, partial, assume jurisdiction, provisions, terms, full jurisdiction, state law, classifications, Hearings, proviso, obligate, constitutional amendment, legislative history, legislative action, state constitution, subject-matter, authorize, barriers, argues, organic law, geographic, non-Indian, mandatory, amend, criminal jurisdiction, state jurisdiction, main clause
Governments, Native Americans, Authority & Jurisdiction, General Overview, Property Rights, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, State & Territorial Governments, Statehood, Taxation, Public Lands, Legislation, Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Judicial Review, Standards of Review