High court declines to consider Oklahoma tribe’s case

Pawhuska, Oklahoma (AP) July 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider an Oklahoma tribe’s appeal regarding a lawsuit over whether tribal citizens who live and work in Osage County are exempt from state income taxes.

The nation’s high court denied the Osage Nation’s petition for a writ of certiorari, leaving intact a 2009 U.S. District Court ruling.

In a 2001 lawsuit against the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the tribe claimed Congress never affirmatively disestablished its 1.5 million-acre reservation in northeastern Oklahoma and that federal law exempts tribal members who live and work there from paying state income taxes.

After the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court decision, the tribe asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a review.

Principal Chief John Red Eagle said he’s disappointed with the decision.