Monday, April 02, 2007

Unless I'm misreading...

this post, no less than Orin Kerr, one of the smartest law-bloggers around and, from what I know, a very impressive legal scholar, former clerk for Anthony Kennedy, and specialist in criminal-constitutional law, says he'd never heard of the Indian Civil Rights Act until last week.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm not misreading.
In People v. Ramirez, handed down on Wednesday, tribal officers at a casino on an Indian reservation searched a car without probable cause and found drugs inside. The owner of the car was prosecuted in state court and moved to suppress the drugs. The California court's conclusion: the Indian Civil Rights Act does include a suppression remedy for violations.[...] I'd never heard of this Act until reading the Ramirez decision, so I'm certainly open to learning more.

Now, ICRA isn't a minor or obscure statute, so I find this quite remarkable. ICRA rather than the Fourth Amendment governs the searches and seizures conducted by some 300 governments covering about two and a half percent of the American landmass; Orin's a leading scholar of search-and-seizure law. I don't mean this as a slight of Orin, for whom I have great respect. It just confirms my ongoing sense that Indian law is badely, badly undertaught in American law schools.