United States v. White Mountain Apache Tribe, 537 U.S. 465, 23 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 465 (2003)

Thomas, J., dissenting

a parcel-by-parcel determination whether "portions of the property were under United States control," 249 F. 3d, at 1383. Such an approach provides little certainty to guide Congress in fashioning legislation that insulates the United States from damages for breach of trust. Instead, to the ultimate detriment of the Tribe, Congress might refrain from creating trust relationships out of apprehension that the use of the word "trust" will subject the United States to liability for money damages.

* * *

The Court today fashions a new test to determine whether Congress has conferred a substantive right enforceable against the United States in a suit for money damages. In doing so, the Court radically alters the relevant inquiry from one focused on the actual fiduciary duties created by statute or regulation to one divining fiduciary duties out of the use of the word "trust" and notions of factual control. See ante, at 474-475. Because I find no basis for this approach in our case law or in the language of the Indian Tucker Act, I respectfully dissent.

marks omitted), the Court makes no attempt to explain how a damages remedy lies against the United States when the same remedy would not be available against a private trustee.


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