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On June 25th, 2021 the Supreme Court decided Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of Chehalis Reservation, a case which concerned whether Alaska native regional and village corporations established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act “Indian Tribes” for purposes of the CARES Act. Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored the 5-4 majority opinion of the Court, which held that ANCs are “Indian tribe[s]” under ISDA and thus eligible for funding under Title V of the CARES Act. Justice Neil Gorsuch authored a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan, arguing that the plain language and construction of the ISDA suggest that ANCs are not “Indian tribes,” supported by analogy to another statute with “nearly identical language in remarkably similar contexts,” and that the majority overlooked the critical statutory word “recognized.”

With us today to discuss this case are Anthony Ferate, Of Counsel at Spencer Fan LLP, and Jennifer Weddle, Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s American Indian Law practice.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.