The issue is:
(1) whether the EEOA of 1972 repeals the preferences given to Indians in BIA jobs by the IRA of 1934, and
(2) whether the provision of IRA violates the 5th Amendment EPC.
Blackmun first rules that the EEOA did not repeal § 12 of IRA, and second rules that it neither violates the 5th Amendment because Indians are a political classification, not a racial one, and therefore the case only demands rational scrutiny (statute must be rationally tied to Congress’ unique obligation to the Indians).
Legislation that singles out Indians for special treatment is in a special category because of the historical relationship of the U.S. with the Indians and the Indian Commerce Clause.
Indians should have leadership role in the BIA as a part of self-government.