An eight-member US Supreme Court in 2017 will examine two Native American cases early in the year.
However, assuming President-elect Trump will nominate and the Senate will confirm a new justice in relatively short order, a newly reconstituted nine-member court may hear additional Indian law cases, possibly one or more dealing with the fallout from the 2009 decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. Other matters involving Indian gaming and payday lending are working their way up through the courts. For now, however, Lewis v. Clarke, involving tribal sovereign immunity, heard argument on Jan. 9, and the court will hear argument on Jan. 18 in Lee v. Tam, a matter that may implicate Native American law; both arguments will precede President-elect Trump’s inauguration. Tom Gede examines these and other Native American law cases to watch in 2017.