July 06, 2012
On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter. This case involved the federal Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, which allows Native American tribes to take over the administration of various federally funded educational and social service programs, and to receive payment for the cost of doing so. At issue here was whether the Government must pay those costs when Congress appropriates funds sufficient to pay in full any individual contractor, but not sufficient to cover the aggregate amount due to every contractor.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that the federal government must pay the support costs of each tribe in full. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Kagan joined the majority opinion. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Alito.
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.