Passing the Buck: The Perils of Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta

May 2024

The Supreme Court’s 2021–2022 term was historic and controversial.1 By reverting to originalism, the Court eschewed long-established precedent to curtail abortion rights2 and expand access to guns.3 However, no case broke from precedent harder than the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta.4

The case involved a single question: can states prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indian5 victims on reservations?6 The answer to the question was clearly “no,” as Oklahoma—the state bringing the case—admitted two years prior.7 Notwithstanding, five Supreme Court Justices sided with Oklahoma, and in so doing, upended over two hundred years of federal Indian law.8

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Timothy Q. Purdon


Chair, American Indian Law and Policy Group;
Co-Chair, Government and Internal Investigations Group

Brendan V. Johnson


Member of Executive Board
Chair, National Business Litigation Group
Co-Chair, Government and Internal Investigations Group

Adam Crepelle

Assistant Professor Loyola School of Law

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