Yakama Nation Wins Supreme Court Contest Over Sovereignty Rights With Pivotal Trump Nominee Support

As reported by NPR, the Supreme Court found in favor of the Yakama Nation in their case upholding their Treaty Rights to transport goods without taxation. Conservative Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch, who previously served as a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals in Denver, has broad experience with Native American Tribal needs with his previous appointment overseeing six states and 76 federally recognized Native Nations. While being the fifth member of the court to side with the Yakama Nation, Justice Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion representing himself and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

His opinion as NPR reports, ‘What the tribe got in exchange, he said, was a right it had had for centuries — not only the right to travel on public highways, but “the right to move goods freely to and from market using those highways,” without having to pay a tax or licensing fees on those goods. The only thing the U.S. government gave up, and that the Yakamas insisted on in 1855, was the U.S. government’s promise “not to impose a tax or toll on tribal members or their goods as they pass to and from market.”‘

For the Yakama Nation, their 1855 Treaty with the United States was made with the wisdom and knowledge of the US Government’s dealings with Native Nations in the decades before. With that inclusion into their treaty, this week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court solidifies the Yakama Nation’s Native Sovereignty as it was meant to be, acknowledged in 1855 and carrying forward beyond today.

In the NPR report, Justice Gorsuch’s statement rings true for the history behind the treaty in 1855 – ‘”It was a price the United States was more than willing to pay” and “by any measure it was a bargain-basement deal,”‘ – which is a statement that resonates across Native America.

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