Worcester v. Georgia

PETITIONER: Samuel A. Worcester
RESPONDENT: Georgia
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Marshall Court (1830-1834)
LOWER COURT: State trial court

ARGUED: Feb 20, 1832 / Feb 21, 1832 / Feb 23, 1832
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1832

Facts of the case

In September 1831, Samuel A. Worcester and others, all non-Native Americans, were indicted in the supreme court for the county of Gwinnett in the state of Georgia for "residing within the limits of the Cherokee nation without a license" and "without having taken the oath to support and defend the constitution and laws of the state of Georgia." They were indicted under an 1830 act of the Georgia legislature entitled "an act to prevent the exercise of assumed and arbitrary power by all persons, under pretext of authority from the Cherokee Indians." Among other things, Worcester argued that the state could not maintain the prosecution because the statute violated the Constitution, treaties between the United States and the Cherokee nation, and an act of Congress entitled "an act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes." Worcester was convicted and sentenced to "hard labour in the penitentiary for four years." The U.S. Supreme Court received the case on a writ of error.

Question

Does the state of Georgia have the authority to regulate the intercourse between citizens of its state and members of the Cherokee Nation?