The Framers of the Constitution founded the United States on a principle that the federal government has limited, enumerated powers. This Article advances the Offences Clause as an additional, and important, source of federal authority in Indian affairs, particularly for the Indian Child Welfare Act. There is considerable evidence that the Offences Clause was intended to authorize Congress to regulate relationships with tribal nations as well as foreign governments. This Article puts forth the Offences Clause as a response to the challenges raised by Justice Thomas and the State of Texas, including concerns about racial classification or overreach of commerce clause authority.
John Hayden Dossett, Tribal Nations and Congress's Power to Define Offences Against the Law of Nations, 80 Mont. L. Rev. 41 (2019).