South Dakota professor publishes extensive review of tribal appellate courts


Frank Pommersheim, a University of South Dakota School of Law professor, recently published a new book entitled Tribal Justice: 25 Years a Tribal Appellate Justice.

The book is a history, review and survey of tribal appellate court jurisprudence. It walks the reader through civil rights, elections and political participation, criminal law and procedure, rights of juveniles, tribal constitutions, and tradition and custom. It provides a focus on the procedure of tribal court appellate decision-making, filtered through Pommersheim’s unique lens and grounded in the text of actual court opinions.

''Frank Pommersheim is the modern apotheosis of Ksa, Nanaboozhoo, Quetzalcotl, Athena, John Marshall, and the Buddha -- all legends of judicial wisdom," Matthew Fletcher, a professor of law at Michigan State University, said in his review of the book. "Tribal Justice is a powerful culmination of his career work so far and gives us all hope for another quarter-century of his judgment, experience and calm thoughtfulness.”

A resident of South Dakota for more than 35 years, Pommersheim has led a long and fruitful career serving on tribal appellate courts. Before joining the University of South Dakota faculty in 1984, he lived and worked on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation for a decade. He is the author of numerous works about American Indian law.

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