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Constitutional law

2017

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They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2017

They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, And The Constitutional Minimum, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

In American law, Native nations (denominated in the Constitution and elsewhere as “tribes”) are sovereigns with a direct relationship with the federal government. Tribes’ governmental status situates them differently from other minority groups for many legal purposes, including equal protection analysis. Under current equal protection doctrine, classifications that further the federal government’s unique relationship with tribes and their members are subject to rationality review. Yet this deferential approach has recently been subject to criticism and is currently being challenged in the courts. Swept up in the larger drift toward colorblind or race-neutral understandings of the Constitution, advocates and commentators ...