"Empowerment through the equal administration of justice for all"
Protecting Tribal Sovereignty
The fundamental principle of the inter-tribal judiciary is to provide all people fair and impartial hearings regardless of race or national origin. The ICSC is an Intertribal Court System that works on a “circuit type” basis, where tribal judges travel from one reservation to the next presiding over cases based on specific Tribes’ laws, ordinances, customs, and historical precedence. The Court provides member Tribes with judges, administration, court clerks, bailiffs, and case management.
The Court stands as an “independent judiciary” within Indian Country. Its intention is to preserve the integrity, autonomy and self-governance, of the Tribes it serves in a culturally aware and traditionally responsive environment.
Today Tribes are in a period of rapidly changing political times and economic growth. Tribal Councils are being called upon to do more than ever. While they have essentially served in part as quasi-judicial bodies, growth and pursuit of equality demand they enhance both the rights of the People within Indian Country and provide them with an unbiased and independent method of dispute resolution. Therefore, tribal leaders created another branch of government that could assist, preserve, and protect their sovereignty.
Under the Inter-Tribal Governing Agreement, the Tribes established the Tribal Judicial Council of Southern California that oversees the administration of the Court. Under the governing agreement, independently elected Judicial Council members are appointed from each Tribe’s Tribal Council. The Judicial Council’s responsibilities include interviewing & hiring judges, reviewing budgets, hiring key staff, entering into agreements, ensuring the Court is properly funded, and policy review.