Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 17 (2001)

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Opinion of the Court

reduction of the 1873 reservation's boundaries. The explicit statutory provisions requiring agreement of the Tribe were unchanged right through to the point of Congress's final 1891 ratification of the reservation, in an Act that of course contained no cession by the Tribe of submerged lands within the reservation's outer boundaries. Nor, it should be added, is there any hint in the evidence that delay in final passage of the ratifying Act was meant to pull a fast one by allowing the reservation's submerged lands to pass to Idaho under a legal presumption, by virtue of the Statehood Act approved eight months before Congress took final action on the reservation. There is no evidence that the Act confirming the reservation was delayed for any reason but comparison of the respective House and Senate bills, to assure that they were identical prior to the House's passage of the Senate version.7

The record thus answers the State's argument that, because the 1889 Act indicates that Congress sought to obtain portions of the reservation "valuable chiefly for minerals and timber," Congress was not necessarily thinking one thing or another about the balance of the reservation land. Reply Brief for Petitioner 6-7; see also Tr. of Oral Arg. 12-13. The argument simply ignores the evidence that Congress did know that the reservation included submerged lands, and that it authorized the reservation's modification solely by agreement. The intent, in other words, was that anything not consensually ceded by the Tribe would remain for the Tribe's benefit, an objective flatly at odds with Idaho's view that Congress meant to transfer the balance

7 Given the preceding discussion of, among other things, the earlier congressional Acts, it should go without saying that this reference to the fact that the Senate passed the ratification Act before statehood is not intended to suggest that the Senate action constituted the enactment of an expression of intent on behalf of the whole Congress, let alone that it was sufficient of itself to defeat Idaho's title to the submerged lands. But cf. post, at 285 (Rehnquist, C. J., dissenting).

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