chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
September 28, 2021

ABA program to explore impact of McGirt case on Native American lands

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2021 – Four experts on Native American law, including three Oklahoma judges, will explore the impact of the landmark Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma at a program Thursday, Oct. 7, hosted by the American Bar Association Judicial Division.

The program, titled “Final Notice-Past Due: The Challenges and Cost of Justice in the Wake of McGirt v. Oklahoma,” will start at 1 p.m. ET. It is co-sponsored by the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges and the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice.

Jimcy McGirt, a Seminole, was convicted in an Oklahoma state court of violent sex crimes occurring on Muscogee (Creek) Nation lands. McGirt argued that under 19th century treaties, he could only be prosecuted in a tribal or federal court because Congress never disestablished reservation boundaries that encompass much of eastern Oklahoma. In July 2020, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's treaty reservation boundaries and held that the state did not have criminal jurisdiction over McGirt.

Panelists at the ABA program will discuss how the ruling has created jurisdictional, logistical and funding challenges for criminal prosecutions on tribal lands in Oklahoma and, perhaps, elsewhere. They also will explore the need to clarify what laws and regulations apply to lands located inside reservation boundaries.

Panelists will include:

  • Judge T. Luke Barteaux of the Cherokee Nation District Court in Oklahoma
  • Judge Gregory H. Bigler of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court in Oklahoma
  • Judge Stacy Leeds of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court in Oklahoma and currently a law professor at Arizona State University

The 90-minute program will be moderated by Judge Lisa Atkinson, a tribal court judge and attorney based in Keaau, Hawaii.

Reporters who would like to cover the program should contact Marc Davis at [email protected]. Others can register online here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.