Carole Goldberg


International relations theory suggests some new ways of thinking about the conflict between states and tribes over jurisdiction in Indian country. Realists portray the struggle as a clash of self-interested political actors, with the most powerful prevailing. Norms-driven theory suggests that perceptions of which legal system satisfies widely accepted standards for fair and effective justice will determine which entity is allowed jurisdiction. Since norms-driven analysis seems more prevalent in Supreme Court decisions, this Article pursues its implications for tribal-state jurisdictional conflicts, finding that federal courts and other decisionmakers seem to favor state over tribal jurisdiction because state jurisdiction is perceived to be more likely to deliver fair and effective justice. The Article questions that assumption, challenging some empirical evidence that appears to support it in a civil context and presenting the results of empirical research that indicates that tribal communities view state criminal justice as unfair and ineffective within Indian country.