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Cobell
Supreme Court to consider petition in Cobell trust fund case


Update: The Cobell plaintiffs on Monday filed a motion to withdraw the petition of certiorari, a spokesperson said, in anticipation of Congressional authorization of the settlement.

At a private conference tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a petition in Cobell v. Salazar, the Indian trust fund lawsuit.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2009 ruled that the Interior Department must account for billions of dollars of Indian trust funds. However, the court said the government can take as a long as it wants and can impose limits on the effort if Congress doesn't provide enough funds to conduct a broad historical accounting.

The court also said Judge James Robertson, who retired at the beginning of this month, should not have put a dollar figure on the government's failure to account. He had said the plaintiffs were owed $455.6 million.

The plaintiffs filed a petition for certiorari that will be reviewed by the justices tomorrow. It asks the high court to determine whether the government should be required to account for "all funds" in the Indian trust accounts regardless of Congressional restrictions.

The Obama administration opposes review of the case. Attorneys said the government should be allowed to proceed with the accounting based on the cost of the project and how long it might take.

Part of the reason the plaintiffs and the administration set a deadline in the $3.4 billion settlement to the case was to avoid further litigation. Congress has so far failed to authorize the settlement so the Supreme Court petition went ahead.

The justices are expected to announce whether they will take the case early next week. SCOTUSBlog has listed the petition as one to watch.

Get the Story:
Petitions to Watch | Conference of 6.24.10 (SCOTUSBlog 6/22)

American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act:
Press Release: Baucus, Levin To Release Joint Legislation To Create Jobs, Extend Tax Cuts for Families and Businesses, Support Americans Looking for Work | Background and More Information

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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