Craig Smith

Full Faith and Credit in Cross-Jurisdictional Recognition of Tribal Court Decisions Revisited

Federally recognized Indian tribes are America‘s third sovereigns; at this level of generality the law is clear. However, exactly what demands the existence of tribal sovereignty places on our constitutional system is a seemingly inexorable question. One way to pin the question down, and begin to trace the deep legal and moral tensions it discloses, is to examine the relationship among America‘s three sovereign court systems: tribal, state, and federal. All three occupy an important space in our social, political, and legal universe; and all three claim legitimacy for their autonomy from particularized fonts of sovereignty. But how much credit and deference state and federal courts must extend to the decisions of tribal courts, and vice versa, presents an ongoing and difficult legal question that has received sporadic attention from courts and commentators.