Nebraska v. Parker

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Indian Law
  • Date Filed: March 22, 2016
  • Case #: 14-1406
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

The 1882 Act between the United States and the Omaha Tribe did not diminish reservation land and tribal ordinances apply to the land referred to in the Act.

In 1882, the US government entered into a treaty with the Respondents, the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska, to allow reservation land to be sold to non-members of the Tribe. Since that time the town of Pender, Nebraska has been established, settled almost entirely by non-members. Respondents in 2006 passed the Beverage Control Ordinance that forces businesses to obtain liquor licenses from Respondents. Petitioners, the town of Pender and business owners in Pender, argue that the 1882 Act diminished the reservation and Pender is not part of the Omaha Reservation. The State of Nebraska, intervened on behalf of petitioners and the federal government intervened on behalf of respondents.

The district court found that the 1882 Act did not diminish the Omaha Reservation in 1882 and the ordinance would apply. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Looking at the language of the 1882 Act, the US Supreme Court found that the Act did not unequivocally diminish the reservation land, required for diminishment, but only allowed non-members to purchase land for settlement. The Court did not consider other issues of laches or acquiescence because only the issue of diminishment was raised by petitioners.


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