indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Supreme Court refuses Bush appeal of trust case
Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected another attempt by the Bush administration to limit the federal government's trust responsibilities.

Without comment, the justices denied an appeal involving two Wyoming tribes whose trust assets have been mismanaged by the Interior Department. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe have won key rulings in a long-running case over oil, gas, sand and gravel resources on the Wind River Reservation.

The Bush administration sought to overturn those rulings, claiming that they would pave the way for billions of dollars in lawsuits by tribal governments and individual Indians. "Both the number and the potential dollar value of possible breach-of-trust claims against the United States are enormous," Department of Justice attorneys wrote in a court brief.

Three years ago, the administration made a similar argument in two tribal trust cases that went before the high court. The justices ruled for one tribe and went against another but, in both instances, they refused to limit the federal government's fiduciary obligations to Indian beneficiaries.

In the years following, tribes and individual Indians have won a series of rulings in the federal courts. In addition to the Wyoming tribes, the Osage Nation from Oklahoma and the Cobell plaintiffs have relied on the Supreme Court precedents to press an accounting of billions of dollars in trust funds.

The administration's appeal threatened these victories because it challenged a Congressional rider that gives Indian beneficiaries more time to file lawsuits. The provision, first placed in the Interior Department's appropriations bill in 1990, lifts the standard six-year statute of limitations for trust accounting cases.

The rider has been included in every appropriations bill since and it was the subject of a separate measure sponsored by former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado). "It is about avoiding litigation which I think is in everyone's interest," Campbell said at a February 2002 hearing. The bill was signed into law by President Bush a month later.

Key members of Congress have continued to press the government and Indian Country to resolve trust management issues. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said he will give everyone "one good shot" this session to work out a potential solution.

The National Congress of American Indians and the Inter-Tribal Trust Monitoring Association have since started a workgroup to draft legislation to present to Congress. The Native American Rights Fund, on behalf of the Cobell plaintiffs, is involved in the talks.

The effort proceeds as the White House and the Interior Department have refused to yield on a key issue in the debate -- how far in history an accounting of trust funds should go. In the appeal to the Supreme Court, government attorneys sought a ruling to endorse their limited view of the costly project.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has asked for a substantial increase in resources to fight tribal trust lawsuits. In testimony to Congress in March, he requested $7.4 million and 18 positions, a figure that doesn't include the amount being used to battle the Cobell case.

"The United States' potential exposure in these cases is more than $200 billion," Gonzales said. "Adequate resources are necessary to limit exposure and establish proper precedent for the United States."

In the Wind River case, the tribes have settled claims related to oil and gas mismanagement for $12 million and claims related to sand and gravel mismanagement for $2 million. Other parts of the case are still pending.

The tribes also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court that was rejected yesterday. They wanted a ruling to determine whether they are entitled to the best price for their sand and gravel assets. The lower court ruled they had no claim on this point.

DOJ Briefs:
DOJ Petition | DOJ Appendix | Reply | Response

Tribal Briefs:
Tribal Petition | Response

Docket Sheets:
US v. Shoshone Indian Tribe | Eastern Shoshone Tribe v. US

Other Documents:
Alberto Gonzales Testimony (March 1, 2005)

Lower Court Decision:
SHOSHONE INDIAN TRIBE OF THE WIND RIVER RESERVATION v. US (April 7, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Eastern Shoshone Tribe - http://www.easternshoshone.net
Northern Arapaho Tribe - http://www.northernarapaho.com
NCAI-NARF Supreme Court Project - http://doc.narf.org/sc/index.html

Related Stories:
Supreme Court to weigh appeal of trust lawsuit (04/07)
Bush administration won't give up fight on Cobell (03/18)
McCain weighs GAO probe of Indian trust debacle (03/10)
McCain lays out Indian agenda for 109th Congress (3/7)
Wind River Tribes settle some trust claims for $12M (06/11)
Wyoming tribes win appeal of breach of trust lawsuit (04/08)
Appeals court revives Wind River royalty fraud case (4/7)
Judge advances suit over royalty mismanagement (10/03)
Judge upholds ongoing trust relationship (04/29)
Navajo Nation fallout considered (3/7)
Navajo Nation's Peabody lawsuit to continue (3/7)
Supreme Court issues trust decisions (3/4)
Supreme Court upholds common law trust claim (3/5)
High court ruling makes 'passive' trustee of U.S. (3/5)
A mixed bag for Indian trust (3/5)
Supreme Court offers split victory on trust (3/5)
Supreme Court issues trust decisions (3/4)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Girls basketball team proudly wears Navajo hairstyle during game (2/8)
Senate committee to host roundtable on Tribal Law and Order Act (2/8)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee postpones field hearing into EPA (2/8)
National Indian Gaming Commission slated to get a third member (2/8)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation invests in our people's wellbeing (2/8)
Kevin Washburn: Republicans punish tribe in public lands measure (2/8)
Harold Monteau: Democrats stack the deck for only one candidate (2/8)
Cutcha Risling Baldy: Don't let Leonard Peltier die in prison system (2/8)
Robert Jumper: Keep Eastern Cherokee council meetings on record (2/8)
Brian Pierson: Menominee Nation loses decision at Supreme Court (2/8)
Burns Paiute Tribe might seek to reopen judgment for stolen lands (2/8)
Shinnecock Nation approves plans to join medical marijuana field (2/8)
Teams protest corporate sponsor of Native basketball tournament (2/8)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe faces obstacles with repatriation of students (2/8)
Wallace Coffey resigns as chair of Comanche Nation after 25 years (2/8)
Broker accused of lying to tribal client about $190M in investments (2/8)
Seminole Tribe showcases long-lost declaration of independence (2/8)
Pope Francis to celebrate mass at Indian church for trip to Mexico (2/8)
California communities go without as casino revenue fund dries up (2/8)
Non-Indian firm looking to block Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino (2/8)
Umatilla Tribes raise gambling age as sales of liquor start at casino (2/8)
Apology offered to girls who were forced to change Native hairstyle (2/5)
Mark Trahant: Bernie Sanders campaign starts Indian policy group (2/5)
Charles Trimble: Taking responsibility for upkeep of our cemeteries (2/5)
Mary Annette Pember: Memorial to Indian genocide eyed in Russia (2/5)
Terese Marie Mailhot: I guess I'm just one of those 'crazy' Indians (2/5)
Judge weighs compromise for $380M in leftover Keepseagle funds (2/5)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes movement on water rights settlement (2/5)
Yakama Nation wins decision on cost of cleaning up contamination (2/5)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe confident of casino bid despite lawsuit (2/5)
Arizona sees 6.9 percent boost in gaming contributions from tribes (2/5)
Cowlitz Tribe close to reaching agreement with city for new casino (2/5)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation questions exclusion from casino process (2/5)
Tribal leaders question management changes at IHS in Great Plains (2/4)
IHS chief medical officer apologizes for comments about newborns (2/4)
Group sues IHS for records about water pollution on Yakama Nation (2/4)
Sen. McCain still bothered by failure to block Arizona tribe's casino (2/4)
Gun Lake Tribe announces retirement of longtime chair DK Sprague (2/4)
House Natural Resources Committee passes Indian bills at markup (2/4)
Samuel Winder: Indian defendants face harsher criminal penalties (2/4)
Charles Kader: Tribal burial grounds in Florida are being desecrated (2/4)
Roger Chelsey: Pamunkey Tribe clears last hurdle for federal status (2/4)
Reno Sparks Indian Colony mourns passing of leader William Coffey (2/4)
Native students convince school to name Indigenous People's Day (2/4)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe supports move to Indigenous People's Day (2/4)
Coquille Tribe donates $100K to help college with health programs (2/4)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.