HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Emeritus


Amici curiae are 25 scholars who teach, write, and/or practice in the area of federal Indian law and federal Indian policy. The amici are concerned with the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision in United States v. Cooley, 919 F.3d 1135 (9th Cir. 2019). There, the circuit court held that tribal police officers lack authority to briefly detain and search a non-Indian on a public highway running through the Crow Reservation unless it is either “apparent” or “obvious” that the non-Indian has violated state or federal law. Under that theory, the court affirmed the district court’s decision to suppress drug and firearm evidence obtained from a non-Indian defendant by a tribal law enforcement officer.The amici urge the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit decision as the circuit court’s legal theory contradicts the custom, tradition, and policy of policing, as well as the treaties between the United States and indigenous nations. This all demonstrates that the United States has long recognized tribal authority to detain and search non-Indians.


Routel, Colette, Joseph Kalt, et al. "Brief for Indian Law and Policy Professors as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner in United States v. Cooley." University of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper, July 2022.