DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Waite Court (1882-1887)
ARGUED: Mar 02, 1886
DECIDED: May 10, 1886
Facts of the case
In response to the Court's ruling in Ex Parte Crowe Dog (1883), Congress passed the Major Crimes Act as part of the Indian Appropriations Act of 1885, which granted the federal courts jurisdiction over certain major crimes committed by one Native American against another. In June 1885, Kagama, a Native American, was tried for the murder of Iyouse, another Native American, on the Hoopa Valley reservation in California. At trial, Kagama challenged the court's jurisdiction over the matter, arguing that the relevant section of the Indian Appropriations Act was unconstitutional. On appeal, Kagama received a division of opinion from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California.
Does any part of the Constitution grant Congress the power over the jurisdiction of crimes committed by one Native American against another?