The Yakama Nation chairman was at the nation’s highest court to hear oral arguments in a case about whether his tribe should be subject to the state fuel tax when importing gasoline to the reservation.
Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy was denied access Tuesday to a U.S. Supreme Court hearing unless he removed his traditional feathered headdress.
Clad in full leadership regalia, Goudy appeared at the nation’s highest court to hear oral arguments in a case about whether his tribe should be subject to the state fuel tax when importing wholesale gasoline to the reservation.
Security officers told Goudy the court cannot be subject to outside influences and that his headdress would obstruct the view of others. A live video of the incident was posted on Facebook.
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“Yakama Nation treaty case is on trial at the Supreme Court today. I cannot wear my traditional regalia before the Supreme Court for the reasons that were stated, but I refuse to take off my traditional regalia,” Goudy said in a statement.
Goudy was told by a security guard that his headdress would not be allowed into the courtroom, but the rest of his regalia was permissible.
“The main overall thing is we do not want to draw attention to a particular case or to a particular litigant in the case so the court is not influenced by that,” the guard told Goudy in the video.
Goudy said that he waited downstairs in the Supreme Court building during the hearing.