Supreme Court justices cite treatise on Indian law edited by ND Law Professor Nell Jessup Newton

Author: Notre Dame Law School

Nell Jessup Newton Official W

Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, a treatise edited by Notre Dame Law Professor Nell Jessup Newton, was cited several times in opinions issued on June 22 in Arizona v. Navajo Nation. The Supreme Court determined in the case that the 1868 Treaty of Bosque Redondo did not require the federal government to take affirmative steps to secure water for the Navajo Nation.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh cited Cohen’s Handbook, with Newton’s name as editor-in-chief, in the Court’s majority opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch also cited Cohen’s Handbook in his dissent — indicating that Cohen’s Handbook is a reliable source for people on both sides of these difficult issues.

Newton, who served as dean of Notre Dame Law School from 2009 to 2019, is a prominent scholar of Indian law. Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law is the only treatise on the subject.

Justice Gorsuch also cited one of Newton’s papers, “Federal Power over Indians: Its Sources, Scope, and Limitations,” on June 15 in his concurring opinion in Haaland v. Brackeen, which upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.