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4 Calif. L. Rev. Circuit 1 (2013)

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    California Law Review Circuit


 VOL. 4                                                         MARCH 2013



 American Indian Legal Scholarship and


       the Courts: Heeding Frickey's Call


                          Matthew L.M. Fletcher*


     American Indian legal scholarship, which rose from virtual nonexistence
in the 1950s, appears to have been very influential on the courts during the
1960s and 1970s. Every decade since the 1960s has seen a dramatic increase in
the number of law review articles on the subject. Courts cited to a substantial
number of the American Indian law articles published in the 1960s, 1970s, and
early 1980s, but that citation pattern has since leveled off. While district and
appellate courts continued to cite American Indian legal scholarship in a more
limited manner, Indian law scholarship appears to have had almost no influence
on the Supreme Court's Indian law decisions since the 1980s.
     To reverse this trend, Professor Philip P. Frickey called for dramatic
changes to the goals and methodologies of American Indian legal scholarship.
He argued for severe limits on mere doctrinal scholarship, especially repetitive
criticism of Supreme Court jurisprudence. Instead, Frickey argued in favor of

  Copyright c 2012 by California Law Review, Inc. California Law Review, Inc. (CLR) is a
California nonprofit corporation. CLR and the authors are solely responsible for the content of their
publications.
   *  Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State
University College of Law. Reporter, Restatement, Third, The Law of American Indians. Thanks to
Wenona Singel, Kate Fort, Kristen Carpenter, Angela Riley, and Ken Akini. The data generated from
the study in Part III is available here: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, American Indian Legal Scholarship and
the Courts The Appendices (MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-23, 2012), available at
http://ssn.comlabstract-2151257. I prepared this paper for the Henderson Center's Fall 2012
Symposium, Heeding Frickey's Call: Doing Justice in Indian Country, and it expands upon concepts
I previously explored in Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Toward a New Era of American Indian Legal
Scholarship An Introductory Essay for the American Indian Law Journal, 1 AM. INDIAN L.J. 1 (2012),
available at http://www.law.seattleu.edu/Documents/ailj/Fall0/ 201ssue/FletcherIntroductionFinal.pdf.

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