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Williams v. Lee

A Question Of Jurisdiction, The Treaty Of 1868


Paul Williams, Lorena Williams


Hugh Lee

Petitioners' Claim

That the Supreme Court of Arizona had erred in claiming jurisdiction in a civil suit occurring on Navajo Indian reservation land.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

William W. Stevenson

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Norman M. Littell

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black (writing for the Court), William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Charles Evans Whittaker

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 January 1958


In favor of the appellants, reversing the Supreme Court of Arizona decision.


The decision affirmed the jurisdiction of Indian tribal courts.

Related Cases

  • Worcester v. Georgia, 6 Pet. 515 (1832).
  • A-1 Contractors v. Strate, 76 F.3d 930 (1996).

Further Readings

  • Prucha, Francis P. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
  • Starkey, Marion L. The Cherokee Nation. North Dighton: JG Press, 1995.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962