OKLAHOMA CITY – The U.S. Supreme Court is asking new questions in a case that will decide whether an Oklahoma-based Indian tribe retains control over a vast swath of eastern Oklahoma.
The court on Tuesday asked attorneys for both the U.S. and Muscogee (Creek) Nation to file written answers to questions in the case that involves a Native American man sentenced to death for murder in state court.
The justices specifically asked whether any statute grants the state jurisdiction over crimes committed by Indians on Indian land, and whether land can qualify as an Indian reservation in certain cases.
The order could mean that the nine-member court is divided on the case and that the justices are looking for a way to reach a decision. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch is not taking part.