Hicks (plaintiff) was a member of the Shoshone Tribe in the State of Nevada (defendant). Suspecting that Hicks was poaching California bighorn sheep in the state, Nevada authorities obtained a warrant to search Hicks’ home on the reservation and executed the warrant with tribal consent. Authorities found no bighorn sheep in Hicks’s home. Hicks sued Nevada in tribal court for violations of his rights during the search, including claims for trespass, abuse of process, and violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The tribal court upheld jurisdiction over Hicks’s claims, and the tribal appellate court affirmed. The State of Nevada sued in federal district court, seeking a declaratory judgment that the tribal court lacked jurisdiction over Nevada state officials. The district court upheld the tribal court’s jurisdiction and held that Nevada must exhaust tribal-court remedies before suing in federal court. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, basing tribal jurisdiction on the status of the land where the search occurred. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.