Ninth Circuit Decision Enforcing Indian Treaty Fishing Rights Affirmed by an Equally Divided Supreme Court


On May 19, 2017, the Ninth Circuit, United States v. Washington, affirmed the District Court’s ruling that the State of Washington, in building and maintain culverts that interfered with the Nineteenth Century Treaties with several Indian tribes, violated those treaties, which impelled the District Court to issue an injunction ordering the State of Washington to correct its “offending culverts.” The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the State’s appeal, and on Monday, the Court held that, with Justice Kennedy’s deciding not to take part in the appeal, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling was affirmed by an equally divided court.