OCTOBER TERM, 2019
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
McGIRT v. OKLAHOMA
CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF
No. 18–9526. Argued May 11, 2020—Decided July 9, 2020
The Major Crimes Act (MCA) provides that, within “the Indian country,”
“[a]ny Indian who commits” certain enumerated offenses “shall be sub-
ject to the same law and penalties as all other persons committing any
of [those] offenses, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United
States.” 18 U. S. C. §1153(a). “Indian country” includes “all land
within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of
the United States Government.” §1151. Petitioner Jimcy McGirt was
convicted by an Oklahoma state court of three serious sexual offenses.
He unsuccessfully argued in state postconviction proceedings that the
State lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him because he is an enrolled
member of the Seminole Nation and his crimes took place on the Creek
Reservation. He seeks a new trial, which, he contends, must take place
in federal court.
Held: For MCA purposes, land reserved for the Creek Nation since the
19th century remains “Indian country.” Pp. 3–42.
(a) Congress established a reservation for the Creek Nation. An
1833 Treaty fixed borders for a “permanent home to the whole Creek
Nation of Indians,” 7 Stat. 418, and promised that the United States
would “grant a patent, in fee simple, to the Creek nation of Indians for
the [assigned] land” to continue “so long as they shall exist as a nation,
and continue to occupy the country hereby assigned to them,”