William & Mary Law Review


Every moment in human history can be characterized by someone as “socially and politically charged.” For a large portion of the population of the United States, nearly the entire history of the country has been socially and politically charged, first because they were enslaved and then because they were subjected to discriminatory laws and unequal treatment under what became known as “Jim Crow.” The history of the United States has also been a period of social and political upheaval for American Indians, the people who occupied the territory that became the United States before European settlement. Although both African-Americans and American Indians often turned to the federal courts for help, by and large, the Supreme Court of the United States turned them away, refusing their pleas for protection from the sources of their political and social difficulties. The law, as exemplified in Supreme Court decisions, carried on in politically and socially charged times as if nothing was the matter.