(Tulsa-AP) -- At a speech in Washington, a U-S Supreme Court Justice called the Cherokee tribe and the Supreme Court "allies," but said the court didn't have enough teeth in the 19th century to prevent the Cherokees' plight.
Stephen Breyer said an 1832 Supreme Court decision allowed the Cherokee tribe its independence. But the ruling was ignored by the state of Georgia and President Andrew Jackson, whose disregard for the finding led to the Cherokees losing their land in Georgia. The Cherokee were forced west along the Trail of Tears to what would become Oklahoma.
Breyer said the case DID however lead to a stronger constitutional system, which today can't ignored by powerful politicians.