[Download November 3, 2008 Argument Calendar PDF]
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Donald L. Carcieri, Governor of Rhode Island, et al. v. Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, et al.
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Indian Law, Trusts, Government Law, Rhode Island Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, Real Estate & Property Law
The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 permits the Secretary to take land into trust for certain Indian tribes, significantly impairing state jurisdiction. The Fifth Circuit held that the 1934 Act "positively dictates" that the only Indian tribes for whom land can be taken into trust are those that were "recognized" and "under federal jurisdiction" as of "June 1934." This Court similarly concluded in that the 1934 Act contained a temporal "recognized [in 1934] tribe" limitation. United States v. John, 437 U.S. 634 (1978) (bracket by Court). The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision to the same effect.
The Rhode Island Indian Land Claims Settlement Act provides land specifically for the later recognized Narragansett Indian Tribe and comprehensively disposes of all Indian land claims in Rhode Island. The Tribe received 1,800 acres of land for free. In exchange, Congress extinguished aboriginal title and all Indian interests in land in Rhode Island.
The questions presented are:
Theodore B. Olson
Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLP
Gregory G. Garre
United States Department of Justice
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