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As I read and reread the Rice decision, I realized how similar it is to the trend in the recent Indian law cases decided by the Supreme Court. For example, Rice, in many respects, represents the discomfort the Justices feel for upholding "special treatment" of Native Americans under the law. The Court in Rice reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision allowing the State of Hawaii to conduct a Natives-only election of trustees to administer a trust to benefit Native Hawaiians. It found that the Fifteenth Amendment, adopted after the Civil War to prevent states from denying the elective franchise to former slaves, prevented Hawaii's attempt to address a perceived history of injustice toward its Native peoples.

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Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal





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