A unanimous decision in a domestic violence case is drawing praise from tribes and their advocates. By an 8-0 vote, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court have upheld the use of tribal court convictions in the federal system. The decision in US v. Bryant means that offenders who repeatedly abuse Native women will continue to face consequences for the actions.
“We deeply appreciate this confirmation of tribal legal rights and jurisdiction," Fawn Sharp, the president of the Quinault Nation of Washington, said in response to the decision. "People need to know that tribal governments consider the issue of violence against women or anyone else on our reservations a top priority issue."
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center was thankful for the decision as well. She noted that the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, cited numerous studies that show Native women are the victims of violence at rates far higher than their counterparts. "The Supreme Court recognized the staggering rates at which our Native women suffer from domestic violence, and the severe consequences Native women face due to jurisdictional limitations on prosecuting violent offenders in Indian Country," said Cherrah Giles, the President of the NIWRC's Board of Directors.
"This decision is a victory for Native women and a victory in the fight to reduce domestic violence in Reservation communities," said Tim Purdon, who served as the U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, "It means that U.S. Attorneys with responsibilities for public safety in Indian Country can make full use of the habitual domestic violence offender statute to protect American Indian women from those who would commit serial acts of domestic violence against them."