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The Supreme Court and individual justices' treatment of American Indian interests has generated relatively little scholarly attention. To fill this void in the extant literature, this study seeks to examine how American Indian interests fared before the Supreme Court of the United States during the Burger and Rehnquist Courts (1969-1992 October terms) and attempts to discern the factors influencing their treatment. The findings indicate that while American Indian interests won 48% of their cases, the Burger Court was much more sympathetic than the Rehnquist Court to the plight of this politically disadvantaged group. The error correcting strategy, the ideological proclivities of the justices, and the issue area being litigated were all influential explanatory variables. Interestingly, the Solicitor General's Office had an adverse influence when it opposed American Indian interests as a direct or third party, but had little impact when supporting their interests.

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Social Science Journal