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SCOTUS could decide to revisit McGirt ruling during Friday conference

A statue of a Native American woman{ }outside the entrance to the Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City (KOKH)
A statue of a Native American woman outside the entrance to the Oklahoma State Capitol building in Oklahoma City (KOKH)
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The U.S. Supreme Court could decide to reconsider arguably one of the biggest cases in recent Native American history.

In a Friday conference, the justices will decide what cases they'll take up.

The state of Oklahoma has filed several petitions in hopes SCOTUS will reverse its ruling on McGirt.

Regardless of what the court decides, an Oklahoma attorney says the effect of the initial decision has created tension between tribes and city and state leaders.

"It's changed the way that we've always had to do business," explained Robert Gifford, an attorney who has argued over a dozen cases involving the McGirt ruling. "It's created a question as to who has the authority to arrest."

He said the fallout from the ruling has created friction and distrust.

"This has been going on for a long time, where city officials and tribal officials have worked together before, but it's new for Tulsa County," Gifford explains. "They didn't have to do this before."

Back in October, the cities of Tulsa and Owasso filed a document in court supporting Oklahoma's petition to overturn the McGirt ruling.

"That's highly unlikely as, once the court has ruled, it's considered precedence," Gifford explained. "And the Supreme Court is very unlikely to reverse itself with that ruling coming in the last two years."

The court could also see if the state has concurrent jurisdiction with a tribe when a case involves a non-tribal member.

"The third issue that the Supreme Court is considering is whether or not McGirt is retroactive, meaning those past convictions of the state of Oklahoma in the county courthouses on those who are members of federally recognized tribes having gotten thrown out and the state of Oklahoma has under the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has an opinion that is not retroactive," said Gifford.

If SCOTUS picks up any of the cases involving McGirt, we could expect to hear that announcement in the days after the conference.

NewsChannel 8 reached out to Gov. Kevin Stitt's Office, the city of Tulsa, and the Cherokee Nation, but all declined to comment.

The Muscogee Nation did release a statement ahead of Friday's conference.


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