Supreme Court affirms hunting rights for Crow Tribe under 1868 treaty

DNY59/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A Native American hunter from Montana won his case at the Supreme Court on Monday, solidifying treaty rights for the Crow Tribe and overturning a state fine for poaching.

In a 5-4 decision, the court sided with Clayvin Herrera in his appeal of an $8000 fine from Wyoming in 2014 for hunting elk off-season, without a license in the state's Bighorn National Forest.

The decision clarifies court precedent that historical treaty rights between the U.S. government and Native American tribes did not implicitly end when a territory became a state.

Herrera argued that an 1868 treaty between his tribe and the federal government explicitly protected a right to hunt on "unoccupied lands" at any time. Wyoming claimed that the right disappeared when the state entered the union, and when the federal forest land was designated, making it "occupied."

"We disagree," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote of Wyoming's argument in the majority opinion. "The Crow Tribe's hunting right survived Wyoming's statehood, and the lands within Bighorn National Forest did not become categorically 'occupied' when set aside as a national reserve."

Sotomayor, who was joined on the opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch, invoked the court's precedent that "Congress must clearly express any intent to abrogate Indian treaty rights."

"First, the Wyoming Statehood Act does not show that Congress intended to end the 1868 Treaty hunting right," Sotomayor writes. "Nor is there any evidence in the treaty itself that Congress intended the hunting right to expire at statehood, or that the Crow Tribe would have understood it to do so."

As for whether a national forest constitutes "occupied" land, the majority wrote that the reserve could not be categorically considered such. But they left open the door for Wyoming to argue in lower court that a narrowly defined area in which Herrera was hunting was in fact occupied.

In a dissent, Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh called the majority's reasoning "plainly contrary" to two Supreme Court precedents: an 1896 case which suggested that some Indian treaty rights extinguished with statehood, and a 1995 case which said Crow hunting rights had lapsed.

"This interpretation of the treaty is debatable," Alito wrote of the majority decision. "Even if the court's interpretation of the treaty is correct, its decision will have no effect if the members of the Crow Tribe are bound under the... holding that the hunting right conferred by that treaty is no longer in force."

The majority concluded that a 1999 Native American treaty-rights case "repudiated" and "undercut" the reasoning in the earlier decisions from 1896 and 1995.

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Parents brawl during youth baseball game after disagreeing with 13-year-old umpire

Parents brawl during youth baseball game after disagreeing with 13-year-old umpirefstop123/iStock(LAKEWOOD, Colo.) -- A baseball game between a group of 7-year-old kids degenerated into an all-out brawl with parents throwing haymakers, other cowering for cover and a woman even jumping on someone's back.

The reason for the brawl: a parent didn't like the calls being made by a 13-year-old umpire.

The fight began at Westgate Elementary School in Lakewood, Colo., a suburb southwest of Denver, on Saturday at about noon as 15 to 20 adults got into a violent tussle, according to Lakewood police.

The brawl was still ongoing as Lakewood police arrived at the scene.

These adults took over the field and began assaulting each other on 6/15 during a youth baseball game. We're looking for any info, in particular to ID the man in the white shirt/teal shorts. Several people have already been cited in this fight and injuries were reported. pic.twitter.com/ieenhwCrbU

— Lakewood Police (@LakewoodPDCO) June 18, 2019

Police issued four citations for disorderly conduct, but said they are still searching for others involved in the fight.

Police are looking for an adult in a white T-shirt and teal shorts in particular because he can be seen in the video throwing sucker punches at people looking in the other direction. Police said it is unknown if this person is a parent of one of the children in the game.

There were a few minor injuries and one person suffered serious bodily injury, police told ABC News. No details on the injury were available.

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