31 US 515 (1832)
- VT man moved to Indian Country without a license in defiance of GA law; GA arrested him for violating state law. Marshall wrote opinion invalidating GA laws on two grounds: (1) federal preemption in affairs with Indians and (2) Indian sovereignty over their lands.
- These two rationales continue to this day, but PREEMPTION is the more vital one, per a 1976 SCOTUS opinion in which preemption is considered “on the backdrop of Indian sovereignty.”
- Desire for peace was bilateral in Treaty of Hopewell – indicating that Cherokee were a separate political power.
- Cession of right to manage affairs doesn’t cede sovereignty, only ability to trade with other nations
- Canons of Statutory Construction at Work in Worcester
- Ambiguities are resolved in favor on Indians
- Interpret the language would be interpreted by Indians
- Indians are not responsible for the nuances of terms in treaties
- Liberal construction of treaties in favor of Indians
- Lasting Principles in Worcester
- Trust responsibility to tribes (guardian and ward)
- Federal preemption as a bar to state jurisdiction
- Indian sovereignty/self-government firmly established