Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Jaime Settle

Committee Members

Christine Nemacheck

Alexandra Joosse


Indigenous tribes, states, and foreign sovereigns possess different degrees of sovereignty outside the federal government yet frequently interact within the United States’ judicial system. In their presence in the Supreme Court, do indigenous tribes behave more like foreign sovereigns or more like states? I explore how each actor behaves as a submitter of amicus curiae briefs in order to compare the macro-level behavior of tribes, sovereigns, and states. I analyze the amicus brief submissions of these actors to all merits cases throughout the Roberts Court. My dataset is unique in the attention paid to the network of signees and entities involved in each amicus brief: I record all entities co-signing on to a single brief and compare the patterns within and between the entities in how frequently they file, to which party they file for, and with whom entities co-file. Through analyzing my dataset of briefs and beginning to evaluate the network compilation of signees, I demonstrate that tribes’ behavior as amicus submitters lies in between that of states and foreign sovereigns, mirroring the state of their semi-sovereignty in the eyes of the Supreme Court.

On-Campus Access Only