Thursday, March 21, 2019

Indian Country for the WIN

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion on the case Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc. (16-1498) In a plurality opinion written by Justice Breyer and joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagen, the Court upheld a ruling by the State of Washington that the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation's (Yakama Nation) wholesale fuel distributor, Cougar Den, Inc. does not have to pay a state fuel tax.

"Really, this case just tells an old and familiar story. The state of Washington includes millions of acres that the Yakamas ceded to the United States under significant pressure. In return, the government supplied a handful of modest promises. The state is now dissatisfied with the consequences of one of those promises. It is a new day, and now it wants more. But today and to its credit, the court holds the parties to the terms of their deal. It is the least we can do."

 

- Justice Neil Gorsuch, Concurring Opinion 

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