Around 9:35 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court case Madison County v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York was discussed briefly.
Rather than accept or reject the case, the High Court asked for the views of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. regarding specifics of the status of the tribe’s land. Court officials said that the opinion would come in the form of a written brief, and that there was no deadline set for its submission, nor was there a timetable set for when an opinion would be rendered in the matter. The solicitor general, oftenn called the counry’s lawyer, is a litigator in the United State Supreme Court who is at times asked to weigh in on cases that directly involve the federal government.
At the heart of the matter is whether a 300,000-acre Oneida reservation in New York still exists, neither disestablished nor diminished. The court’s ruling in the 2005 case, City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, found that the Oneida Indian Nation of New York couldn’t exercise sovereignty over lands it purchases in the ancient reservation area, and that land in the ancient reservation area has not been treated as an Indian reservation by the federal, state or local governments for nearly two centuries.
The solicitor general’s brief would move the court in a direction to clarify this for all parties.