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U.S. Supreme Court stays Tulsa traffic ticket ruling for one week

Claire Anderson / Unsplash

The U.S. Supreme Court is staying a decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in a Tulsa traffic ticket case that centers on tribal sovereignty. It's the latest twist in the Hooper v. City of Tulsacase.

Justice Neil Gorsuch temporarily stayed the appellate court's decision until next week.

That means that the City of Tulsa can again enforce municipal law against tribal citizens until the stay is lifted on Aug. 2 at 4 p.m.

Tulsa had argued it should have the ability to prosecute Native Americans in the wake of the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision because of a pre-statehood law known as the Curtis Act, which was meant to force allotment on tribal nations to make way for statehood.

The case began with a speeding ticket. In 2018 Justin Hooper, a Choctaw citizen. He was fined $150 and paid the ticket. But, five months after the 2020 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, he challenged it and said he was not tried in the right court because he was caught speeding within the Muscogee Reservation.

The appeals court ruled in Hooper's favor earlier this month, saying Tulsa couldn't charge him in municipal court because the incident happened on federal land, and he should have been charged in tribal court.

It's unclear if Gorsuch granted the stay to give both parties more time to file briefs in the case, or if the nation's highest court will grant Tulsa's request to throw out the appeals court decision.

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Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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