Contract and (Tribal) Jurisdiction
Consider two commercial contracts. The first requires customers to waive their rights to bring class actions against large businesses in favor of private arbitration. The second requires a reservation leaseholder to adjudicate disputes in tribal court. Both contracts require dispute resolution in fora over which the Supreme Court does not exercise supervisory jurisdiction. Both arbitration and tribal courts are favored by acts of Congress. Both contracts are hotly contested in the Supreme Court. But the arbitration clause contract has been affirmed in a series of recent decisions. The tribal court contract, by contrast, is pending before the Court in Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Ironically, while the more conservative Justices signed on to the arbitration clause decisions, these same Justices may be Dollar General’s best bets for escaping tribal jurisdiction. This short Essay details the key arguments in Dollar General and argues that to undo the tribal contract would unnecessarily and unconstitutionally undo the right to contract for Indian nations.
Fletcher, Matthew. "Contract and (Tribal) Jurisdiction." Yale Law Journal Forum 126 (2016): 1-7. (Work published when author not on Michigan Law faculty.)