Tribal Immunity, Tribal Court Jurisdiction, and Separation of Powers


There are two active cases out there involving Florida tribes that raise interesting questions relating to tribal courts and tribal immunity in federal and state courts. The two cases, Miccosukee Tribe v. Kraus-Anderson Constr. (which is currently pending before the Supreme Court – an invitation brief from the OSG may be forthcoming soon), and last week’s district court decision in Contour Spa at Hard Rock v. Seminole Tribe. It is our understanding that both tribes have unusual government structures (unusual by federal and state standards, and to most but not all tribes) in which the tribal legislature serves as the appellate court of final resort for the tribal judiciary. This is less common, we think, than it once was in Indian country, but a goodly number of tribes retain this structure...

Resource Type

Fletcher, Matthew L.M. "Tribal Immunity, Tribal Court Jurisdiction, and Separation of Powers." Turtle Talk. April 5, 2011.  (, accessed February 9, 2012)