United States v. White Mountain Apache Tribe, 537 U.S. 465, 4 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

deterioration already suffered, and shield the Government against the remedy whose very availability would deter it from wasting trust property in the period before a Tribe has gone to court for injunctive relief. E. g., Mitchell II, supra, at 227. Pp. 476-479. 249 F. 3d 1364, affirmed and remanded.

Souter, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Stevens, O'Connor, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Ginsburg, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Breyer, J., joined, post, p. 479. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia and Kennedy, JJ., joined, post, p. 481.

Gregory G. Garre argued the cause for the United States. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General Sansonetti, Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler, Elizabeth Ann Peterson, and James M. Upton.

Robert C. Brauchli argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent.*

Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court. The question in this case arises under the Indian Tucker Act: does the Court of Federal Claims have jurisdiction over the White Mountain Apache Tribe's suit against the United States for breach of fiduciary duty to manage land and improvements held in trust for the Tribe but occupied by the Government. We hold that it does.


The former military post of Fort Apache dates back to 1870 when the United States established the fort within territory that became the Tribe's reservation in 1877. In 1922, Congress transferred control of the fort to the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) and, in 1923, set aside about 400 acres, out of some 7,000, for use as the Theodore Roosevelt Indian School. Act of Jan. 24, 1923, ch. 42, 42 Stat. 1187.

*John E. Echohawk and Tracy A. Labin filed a brief for the National Congress of American Indians as amicus curiae urging affirmance.

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