May 07, 2012
On April 24, 2012, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak and Salazar v. Patchak. Both cases consider whether an individual may file suit to challenge the federal government’s placement of land into a trust for use by Indian tribes.
In Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, the Court will consider whether the Quiet Title Act’s reservation of sovereign immunity in suits involving “trust or restricted Indian lands” applies when the plaintiff does not actually claim title to the land in question.
In Salazar v. Patchak the Court will consider whether, notwithstanding the Quiet Title Act, the Administrative Procedure Act waives sovereign immunity in a suit challenging the United States’ title to lands held in trust for an Indian tribe.
In both cases the Court will also face a question of “prudential standing”; namely, whether the plaintiff can base his standing to sue on an effort to “police” agency compliance with the law, or on interests protected by a statute other than the one on which his suit is based.
To discuss these cases we have Thomas Gede, who is a commissioner on the Indian Law and Order Commission and Of Counsel with Bingham McCutchen LLP.