The 2010 passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act will invest significantly more resources in tribal courts. As tribal courts expand, conflicts between sovereignties - tribal, state, and federal - are likely to occur with much greater frequency. Tribal court civil jurisdiction over non-Indians will be among the issues most frequently appealed to federal courts. I offer this piece to propose a new and novel solution - that tribal courts, through a piecemeal process, be extended absolute civil jurisdiction over non-Indians for those civil offenses over which tribes have the greatest interest. This article takes one of the most common jurisdictional questions - tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indians in case of trespass to land - and argues that a bright-line rule favoring tribal court civil jurisdiction in this instance is legally mandated, will pragmatically conserve judicial resources, and recognizes the broad tribal sovereignty recently reaffirmed by Congress.
Creating Bright-Line Rules for Tribal Court Jurisdiction Over Non-Indians: The Case of Trespass to Real Property,
Am. Indian L. Rev.