I am a retired law professor whose principal scholarship has been devoted to American Indian law. In 2001, I published an article in the Columbia Law Review, “Mixing Bodies and Beliefs: The Predicament of Tribes,” in which I discussed an emerging hostility among members of the Supreme Court toward native groups whose membership is based on common ancestry. This hostility was especially apparent in the case of Rice v. Cayetano, dealing with Native Hawaiians.

At the recent hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii introduced writing by Kavanaugh, contemporaneous with Rice v. Cayetano, that strongly suggests a similar hostility toward native groups, be they Hawaiians, Alaskans or those in the contiguous 48 states, including tribes here in Maine.

I fear that if Judge Kavanaugh becomes a member of the court, rights of native peoples that have been historically protected will be severely circumscribed by the resulting federalist majority. For the sake of our aboriginal “nations within,” I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Scott Gould

Cape Elizabeth