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Bynum tells Indian affairs commission he won't withdraw brief supporting McGirt reversal

Matt Trotter

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has told the city Indian affairs commission he will not withdraw the city’s brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Oklahoma’s push to overturn last year’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

After a standing-room-only special meeting last week, the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission sent Bynum a letter asking him to withdraw the City of Tulsa’s amicus brief, which claims crimes are going unprosecuted because of jurisdictional issues created by the McGirt ruling. Tribal leaders dispute the city’s claims.

In a response dated Tuesday, Bynum thanked the commission for offering a forum for people to share their opinions on the matter but said the city’s brief is giving the Supreme Court the real-life experience of law enforcement, and he will not withdraw it.

Bynum added in his response that the commission is made up mostly of Tulsans with positions in tribal government or stakes in tribal businesses, which is a conflict of interest when it comes to McGirt. The commission, Bynum wrote, "is not designed to be and can not be used as a legal advisor to the City of Tulsa in this instance."

KWGS was not able to reach commissioners for comment Wednesday.

The City of Owasso joined the City of Tulsa on the amicus brief, which was filed in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, one of several cases state officials are using as vehicles to push the Supreme Court to reconsider its July 2020 decision in McGirt.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.