Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wikipedia article of the day for August 21, 2016

The Wikipedia article of the day for August 21, 2016 is United States v. Kagama.
United States v. Kagama was a United States Supreme Court case that upheld the constitutionality of the Major Crimes Act of 1885, which gave jurisdiction to the federal courts in certain cases involving Native Americans. Kagama, a Yurok, was accused of murdering another Yurok on an Indian reservation. His case was selected by the Department of Justice as a test case for the Act. The court opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Freeman Miller (pictured), confirmed the authority of Congress over Indian affairs. Plenary power over Indian tribes, supposedly granted to the U.S. Congress by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, was not deemed necessary to reach the decision; instead, the Court found the power in the tribe's status as a dependent domestic nation. In the year following the decision, Congress passed the Dawes Act, intended to force assimilation and weaken tribal sovereignty. The case has been criticized by legal scholars as drawing on powers that are not granted to Congress by the Constitution.

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