Antoine v. Washington

RESPONDENT: Washington
LOCATION: Florida State Hospital

DOCKET NO.: 73-717
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Washington Supreme Court

CITATION: 420 US 194 (1975)
ARGUED: Dec 16, 1974
DECIDED: Feb 19, 1975

Joseph Lawrence Coniff, Jr. - for appellee
Mason D. Morisset - for appellants

Facts of the case


Media for Antoine v. Washington

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 16, 1974 in Antoine v. Washington

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 19, 1975 in Antoine v. Washington

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The first of these cases, 73-717, Antoine v. Washington is here from the -- in certiorari to the Supreme Court of the State of Washington.

In 1891, the Confederated Colville Indian tribes sold to the United States the northern half of their reservation in the State of Washington, the agreement of sale to which the State of Washington was not a party.

Expressly reserved from the sale and preserved to the members of the tribes and their descendants the rights to hunt and fish that the Indians then enjoyed on the land sold.

The Congress duly ratified that agreement.

And the question is whether the Supremacy Clause of the constitution operated to constitute the ratified reservation of hunting and fishing rights, the supreme law of the land superior to the State of Washington's game laws had make it an offense to hunt dear out of season.

The Supreme Court of Washington held that the Supremacy Clause did not have that effect since the state had not been a party to the 1891 Agreement and accordingly affirm the convictions of the appellant Indians for hunting deer out of season.

We reverse.

We hold the congressional ratification of the 1891 Agreement constituted the provision reserving hunting and fishing rights by force of the Supremacy Clause, the supreme law superior and paramount to the authority of Washington and neither the participation of Washington as a party to the agreement or an expressed provision in the statute, ratification statute precluding state authority or the consent of the state was required to achieve that result.

Mr. Justice Douglas concurs and has filed a concurring opinion.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist dissents and joined by Mr. Justice Stewart, has filed a dissenting opinion.