July 06, 2012
On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak (consolidated with Salazar v. Patchak). This case considered whether an individual may file suit to challenge the federal government’s placement of land into a trust for use by Indian tribes. The Court faced the question whether the United States had waived its sovereign immunity from suit, and if so, whether the individual had standing to pursue his claims.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held by a vote of 8-1 that the United States had indeed waived sovereign immunity and that the plaintiff did have prudential standing to challenge the government placement of land into trust for use by Indian tribes. The Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito joined Justice Kagan’s opinion. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.
To discuss these cases we have Tom Gede, who is a commissioner on the Indian Law and Order Commission and Of Counsel with Bingham McCutchen LLP.