Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Cobell
Judge issues final ruling in Cobell trust case


Judge James Robertson issued his final ruling in the Cobell v. Kempthorne case, concluding that Indian beneficiaries are owed $455.6 million for mismanagement of their trust funds.

The amount is far lower than the $47 billion sought by the Cobell plaintiffs. It's not much higher than the "hundreds of millions" that has been suggested by the Bush administration.

"I am disappointed, to say the least," said lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana. "We believe we presented a strong, compelling case that individual Indian trust beneficiaries are entitled to much more than the government's admitted mismanagement of our trust monies over the past 120 years."

"The department is gratified that the court recognized the complexities and uncertainties involved in this case," responded Jim Cason, the associate deputy secretary at the Interior Department. "We look forward to working with the court, the Congress, and the plaintiffs to bring the case to final closure."

Cobell said an appeal is possible. Robertson said his decision does not resolve potential damages claims against the federal government.

Court Decision:
Cobell v. Kempthorne (August 7, 2008)

Trial Transcripts:
June 9 AM | June 9 PM | June 10 AM | June 10 PM | June 11 | June 12 AM | June 12 PM | June 16 AM | June 16 PM | June 17 AM | June 17 PM | June 18 AM | June 18 PM | June 19 AM

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