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United States v. Navajo Nation

Docket No.: 01-1375
Certiorari Granted: Jun 3 2002
Argued: December 2, 2002
Decided: March 4, 2003

Topics:

25 U.S.C. 396, Economic Activity, Civil Rights, Governmental Liability, Indians, Antitrust, Due Process, Fair Housing Act, Indians, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Title VII, fiduciary obligations, sovereign immunity

PartyNames: United States v. Navajo Nation
Petitioner: United States
Respondent: Navajo Nation

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Citation: CA Fed, 263 F.3d 1325. QUESTION PRESENTED The Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1 938 (lMLA), 25 U.S.C. 396a et seq., andregulations thereunder, authorize an Indi an Tribe, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), to lease tribal lands for mining purposes. The question presented is: Whether th e court of appeals properly held that the United States is liable to the Navajo Na tion for up to ยง600 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty in connection wi th the Secretary's actions concerning an Indian mineral lease, without finding that the Secretary had violated any specificstatutory or regulatory duty established pursuant to the IMLA.
Lower Court Decision
Supreme Court Docket

United States
v.
Navajo Nation
537 U.S. 488 (2003)
Question:

Can the U.S. be held liable for a breach of trust with an Indian Tribe in connection with the negotiation of a mining lease, even when the U.S. has violated no specific statutory or regulatory duty established in the Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938?

United States v. Navajo Nation
ORAL ARGUMENT

December 2, 2002

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 6 votes for United States, 3 vote(s) against

United States v. Navajo Nation
Case Documents

1Opinion in United States v. Navajo Nation
2Opinion in United States v. Navajo Nation
Additional documents for this case are pending review.