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Justices Bolster Tribal Police Detention, Search Authority (2)

June 1, 2021, 2:24 PMUpdated: June 1, 2021, 6:50 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered tribal police authority over non-American Indians traveling through reservations, marking the high court’s latest decision recognizing Indian sovereignty in a criminal case.

In a unanimous opinion Tuesday by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court said tribal officers can temporarily detain and search non-Indians traveling on public rights-of-way through reservations for potential violations of state or federal law.

The case spotlighted the complex tangle of Indian, state, and federal enforcement authority, in a dispute that raised public safety and sovereignty concerns.

It follows last term’s landmark decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which recognized that Congress never ...