Holding: The federal government has waived its sovereign immunity from the respondent’s suit under the Administrative Procedure Act, in which he alleges that Section 465 of the Indian Reorganization Act did not authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire into trust property that the Band intended to use for “gaming purposes” because the Band was not a federally recognized tribe when the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934. Moreover, the respondent has prudential standing to challenge the Secretary’s acquisition of the land in question.
Plain English Summary: In this case, the federal government took certain land into trust for an Indian tribe, which means that it took ownership of the land to allow the tribe to use it. The tribe planned to build a casino on the land. The Supreme Court held that a neighbor could sue the government to stop the casino project on the ground that the law did not permit the government to take the land into trust for this particular tribe.
Judgment: Affirmed, 8-1, in an opinion by Justice Kagan on June 18, 2012. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.
Merits Briefs for the Petitioners
Amicus Briefs in Support of the Petitioners
Merits Briefs for the Respondents