Trump-Approved Supreme Court Justice Joins Liberals
Stand With True Conservatives
Today's 5-4 decision stems from a case out of Wyoming, where authorities charged Clayvin Herrera, an Indian American, with off-season hunting – in defiance of a 150-year-old treaty between the Crow tribe and the federal government.
Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump in 2017, has reaffirmed his conservative bona fides while showing sympathetic tendencies to Native American rights.
The Hill's Jacqueline Thomsen has more:
Wyoming had argued that the treaty was invalidated when it achieved statehood and lower courts agreed, leading to Herrera's conviction on the hunting charge.
The court sided with Herrera and found that the treaty with the tribe did not expire when Wyoming became a state in 1890. They also ruled against Wyoming's argument that Bighorn National Forest, where Herrera was hunting, was not "unoccupied lands" as required under the treaty.
Wyoming had pointed to another Supreme Court ruling that found another Native American treaty ended when the state formally entered the union. However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the majority opinion that Herrera's case centered on another ruling that found "Congress 'must clearly express' any intent to abrogate Indian treaty rights."
"There is simply no evidence that Congress intended to abrogate the 1868 Treaty right through the Wyoming Statehood Act, much less the 'clear evidence' this Court's precedent requires," Sotomayor wrote. "Nor is there any evidence in the treaty itself that Congress intended the hunting right to expire at statehood, or that the Crow Tribe would have understood it to do so."
Gorsuch is the only Westerner on the Supreme Court. He joined Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan in forming the majority.
READ NEXT: 5 Imminent Supreme Court Decisions That'll Affect You >>