Supreme Court to hear land-into-trust case
The U.S. Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments in Carcieri v. Kempthorne, a land-into-trust case.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to take 31 acres in trust for the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island. Since the land it outside of the tribe's Congressionally-designation reservation, it won't fall under state jurisdiction, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in upholding the BIA's decision.

The state appealed and claims the land-into-trust provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act don't apply to tribes that weren't recognized as of the law's passage in 1934. That argument, if accepted by the Supreme Court, could affect more dozens of tribes nationwide.

But even if the land can be taken in trust, the state argues that it falls under state jurisdiction under the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act. The law settled the tribe's land claim and created an 1,800-acre reservation where state laws apply

The state will be represented by Theodore B. Olson, a former Bush administration attorney. Olson won a nasty dispute over the oral arguments after the Supreme Court threatened to cut the state out of today's hearing.

The Interior Department will be represented by the Department of Justice. The Supreme Court denied a motion for the Narragansett Tribe to share time at the hearing.

The tribe plans to use the 31 acres for a housing development.

Get the Story:
Ted Olson Wins Supreme Court Showdown (The Legal Times 11/3)
Court to hear Indian land case (AP 10/3)
Rhode Island’s advocate before high court is seasoned (The Providence Journal 11/2)
Charlestown lawyer bows out of high court arguments (The Providence Journal 11/1)

Supreme Court Documents:
Docket Sheet | Questions Presented | Order List

1st Circuit Decisions:
En Banc (July 20, 2007) | Panel (February 9, 2005)

Briefs and Other Documents:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

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