Friday, March 10, 2006

What's the deal?

Heard a discussion on the radio today about South Dakota's anti-abortion bill. That currently, it's hard to get one there since there is only one clinic for that procedure (and they fly in doctors from Minnesota). Requires driving lots of miles, for one thing. And if abortion is outlawed, one person said abortions could still be had, if one drove out of state.

But what about Native American Tribal areas (aka 'reservations')? Aren't they excempt from state law? Some sell cigarettes without taxes. What state laws apply in tribal areas?

Also, what is(are) the predominant religion(s) in those areas? Does each group have their own religion, or is Christianity the main one? Fundamentalist Christianity? Have the Mormons made gains there? And what are their feelings about abortion?

If South Dakota outlaws abortion and it's held up by the courts, are clinics in tribal areas an option?

Any answers appreciated.


Tribal lands are self-governing, but are regulated by the US federal government. The federal government would have great difficulty prohibiting a tribe from enacting a law permitting something that is permitted in any of the United States.

Traditionally, states cannot regulate tribal lands within their borders.

However, that is complicated by Public Law 280:

South Dakota is one of the states that has assumed regulatory authority over tribal lands inside the borders of their state under Public Law 280.

Based on interpretations, PL280 basically allows states to impose their own civil and criminal law on tribal lands by subjecting citizens of the tribes to state court jurisdiction.

There are certain types of laws that states are specifically not allowed to impose on tribal lands.

1. Annexation. States can't create laws allowing musicipalities to annex tribal lands.

2. Contracts. Tribes are favored in certain types of bankruptcy proceedings

3. Descent. States can't arbitrate inheritance or distribution of property.

4. Gambling. The bingo statute in California was found to apply to tribal lands since they couldn't show that it addressed a specific violation of state public policy.

5. Hunting Fishing Trapping. Not regulatable.

6. Statute of Limitations. Federal statutes of limitation are generally applicable.

7. Motor Vehicles. Other than county and state highways, states can't set speed limits on tribal land.

8. Polution control. Certain types of permits can't be issued to those living on tribal lands (without consent).

9. Real Property. See descent.

10. Land Use. Zoning and building codes can't be imposed.

11. Rent control. Can't be imposed.

12. Safety. Can't be imposed, including certain firearms safety laws.

13. Taxation. States can tax non-indians on tribal lands, even if they don't have specific jurisdiction over the tribe.

14. Income. Income taxes can't be imposed by states on wages earned within tribal lands by enrolled members of the tribe.

15. Inheritance. See descent. Such transactions are not taxable.

16. Personal Property. Non-taxable by the state.

17. Sales and use, taxable, if the goods were sold to a non-tribe member.

18. Transaction Privelege. Generally speaking, if transactions involve non-indians, they're taxable, if the taxable entity is non-indian.

19. Wrongful death. Indian tribes are sovereign and immune from wrongful death charges.

Raparian Rights, Child Custody, Expectancy in Land, Shareholder Derivative Complaints, Adoption, Corporation formation, and certain other types of laws and actions are also dealth with specifically.


Short version. In the specific case of South Dakota, the state can definitely enforce their abortion law on non-indian providers on tribal lands, might be able to enforce their law on indian providers on indian lands performing procedures on non-indians, and probably can't enforce it on indians practicing on indians.

You can bet that it would go to the supreme court in any case.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 3/11/2006 5:28 AM  

Thanks, Jeremy.

But kudos to you, Quiddity, for always asking the next question.

By Blogger Emphyrio, at 3/12/2006 10:03 AM  

What's next? Reservations for people Republicans don't like?

By Anonymous Max Power, at 3/12/2006 3:18 PM  

Max, we've already got's called Guantanamo, if not Eastern Europe. It seems to me extremely unlikely that an entity would put so much effort into warrantless domestic wiretapping of entities that are known to include left-leaning media outlets, environmental groups, etc. without taking some kind of actions based on the information they are gleaning.

You can't build an autocratic regime without secret police AND prisons.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 3/14/2006 7:06 AM  

I need someone to drive a truck full of wire coat-hangers to South Dakota.

Anticipating a fire-sale.

Anyone interested?

By Anonymous Sky-Ho, at 3/14/2006 7:01 PM  

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