Washington Law Review


In order to approach the subject of equality in Indian law, I reviewed Judge Betty Fletcher’s numerous Indian law opinions. It has been a privilege to serve as a colleague of Judge Fletcher for nearly thirty years on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit during which time Judge Fletcher has served as the conscience of our court. In examining her opinions I looked for ringing phrases, calling Indian supporters to the figurative barricades, but found none. All of the opinions I read were careful, technically fine-tuned, and seemed to spring sensibly from the precedent they discussed. I have to say that Judge Fletcher is the least self-indulgent judge I have ever read. She seems to think that it is not her place to fill an opinion with her hopes and fears, delirium, or angst. What restraint! What I cannot figure out is how she can make the law come out with such consistently good results.

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