The justices announced they will hear a new round of arguments in the case of Patrick Murphy. The justices will begin hearing arguments again in October. Murphy was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999.
A federal appeals court found Oklahoma had no right to try him for a crime that was committed on American Indian land. The justices did not explain their decision to hear a second round of arguments. State Attorney General Mike Hunter has said the lower court's ruling, if affirmed, would plunge eastern Oklahoma into "civil, criminal and regulatory turmoil."
The Creek Nation's original territory encompasses more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares), including most of what became the state's second-largest city, Tulsa. "This case has implications for millions of Oklahomans, both tribal and non-tribal citizens," Hunter said in a statement Thursday.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation officials, however, say those concerns are overblown and maintain the tribe's reservation boundaries were never disestablished by Congress.