__ U.S. __, 16-498, Patchak v. Zinke

Docket Nº:16-498
Citation:__ U.S. __, 138 S.Ct. 897, 200 L.Ed.2d 92, 86 U.S.L.W. 4077, 27 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. S 98
Party Name:David PATCHAK, Petitioner v. Ryan ZINKE, Secretary of the Interior, et al.
Attorney:Scott E. Gant, Washington, DC, for Petitioner. Ann O
Judge Panel:Justice THOMAS, joined by Justice BREYER, Justice ALITO, and Justice KAGAN, Justice GINSBURG, joined by Justice SOTOMAYOR, THOMAS, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which BREYER, ALITO, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J....
Case Date:February 27, 2018
Court:United States Supreme Court
SUMMARY

Patchak filed suit challenging the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to invoke the Indian Reorganization Act, 25 U.S.C. 5108, and take into trust the Bradley Property, on which the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians wished to build a casino. In an earlier decision, the Supreme Court held that the Secretary lacked sovereign immunity and that Patchak had standing. While... (see full summary)

 
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__ U.S. __

138 S.Ct. 897, 86 U.S.L.W. 4077, 27 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. S 98

David PATCHAK, Petitioner

v.

Ryan ZINKE, Secretary of the Interior, et al.

No. 16-498

United States Supreme Court

February 27, 2018

Argued Nov. 7, 2017.

[138 S.Ct. 901] Syllabus [*]

Petitioner David Patchak filed suit challenging the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to invoke the Indian Reorganization Act, 25 U.S.C. § 5108, and take into trust a property (Bradley Property) on which respondent Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians wished to build a casino. In Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 567 U.S. 209, 132 S.Ct. 2199, 183 L.Ed.2d 211 (Patchak I ), this Court held that the Secretary lacked sovereign immunity and that Patchak had standing, and it remanded the case for further proceedings. While the suit was back in District Court, Congress enacted the Gun Lake Act, 128 Stat. 1913, which " reaffirmed as trust land" the Bradley Property, § 2(a), and provided that " an action ... relating to [that] land shall not be filed or maintained in a Federal court and shall be promptly dismissed," § 2(b). In response, the District Court dismissed Patchak’s suit, and the D.C. Circuit affirmed.

Held : The judgment is affirmed.

828 F.3d 995, affirmed.

Justice THOMAS, joined by Justice BREYER, Justice ALITO, and Justice KAGAN, concluded that § 2(b) of the Gun Lake Act does not violate Article III of the Constitution. Pp. 904 - 911.

(a) Congress may not exercise the judicial power, see Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 218, 115 S.Ct. 1447, 131 L.Ed.2d 328, but the legislative power permits Congress to make laws that apply retroactively to pending lawsuits, even when it effectively ensures that one side will win, Bank Markazi v. Peterson, 578 U.S. __, __ - __, 136 S.Ct. 1310, 194 L.Ed.2d 463. Permissible exercises of the legislative power and impermissible infringements of the judicial power are distinguished by the following rule: Congress violates Article III when it " compel[s] ... findings or results under old law," Robertson v. Seattle Audubon Soc., 503 U.S. 429, 438, 112 S.Ct. 1407, 118 L.Ed.2d 73, but not when it " changes the law,"

Plaut, supra, at 218, 115 S.Ct. 1447. Pp. 904 - 906.

(b) By stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over actions " relating to" the Bradley Property, § 2(b) changes the law. Pp. 905 - 908.

(1) Section 2(b) is best read as a jurisdiction-stripping statute. It uses jurisdictional language, imposes jurisdictional consequences, and applies " [n]otwithstanding any other provision of law," including the general grant of federal-question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331. And while § 2(b) does not use the word " jurisdiction," jurisdictional statutes are not required to do so. See Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center, 568 U.S. 145, 153, 133 S.Ct. 817, 184 L.Ed.2d 627. Indeed, § 2(b) uses language similar to language used in other jurisdictional statutes. See, e.g.,

Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 142, 132 S.Ct. 641, 181 L.Ed.2d 619. And § 2(b) cannot plausibly be read as anything other than jurisdictional. Pp. 905 - 906.

(2) When Congress strips federal courts of jurisdiction, it exercises a valid legislative power. This Court has held that Congress generally does not violate Article III when it strips federal jurisdiction over a class of cases, see Ex parte McCardle, 7 Wall. 506, 514, 19 L.Ed. 264, and has reaffirmed these principles on many occasions, see, e.g., [138 S.Ct. 902] Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 94-95, 118 S.Ct. 1003, 140 L.Ed.2d 210. Pp. 906 - 908.

(b) Patchak’s two arguments for why § 2(b) violates Article III even if it does strip jurisdiction— that the provision flatly directs federal courts to dismiss lawsuits without allowing them to interpret or apply any new law, and that it attempts to interfere with this Court’s decision in Patchak I that his suit " may proceed," 567 U.S., at 212, 132 S.Ct. 2199— are unpersuasive. Pp. 907 - 911.

Justice GINSBURG, joined by Justice SOTOMAYOR, concluded that Congress’ authority to forgo or retain the Government’s sovereign immunity from suit suffices to decide this case. With Patchak I in mind, Congress acted effectively to displace the Administrative Procedure Act’s waiver of immunity for suits against the United States— which enabled Patchak to launch this litigation— with a contrary command applicable to the Bradley Property. Pp. 912 - 913.

Justice SOTOMAYOR concluded that § 2(b) of the Gun Lake Act is most naturally read as having restored the Federal Government’s sovereign immunity from Patchak’s suit challenging the trust status of the Bradley Property. Pp. 913 - 914.

THOMAS, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which BREYER, ALITO, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. ROBERTS, C.J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KENNEDY and GORSUCH, JJ., joined.

Scott E. Gant, Washington, DC, for Petitioner.

Ann O’Connell, Washington, DC, for Federal Respondents.

Pratik A. Shah, Washington, DC, for Respondent Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Scott E. Gant, Aaron E. Nathan, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Washington, DC, for Petitioner.

Conly J. Schulte, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP, Louisville, CO, Nicole E. Ducheneaux, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP, Omaha, NE, Pratik A. Shah, James E. Tysse, G. Michael Parsons, Jr., Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC, for Respondent Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Jeffrey B. Wall, Acting Solicitor General, Jeffrey H. Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Eric Grant, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Edwin S. Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General, Ann O’Connell, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Lane N. McFadden, Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Federal Respondents.

OPINION

Justice THOMAS announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Justice BREYER, Justice ALITO, and Justice KAGAN join.

Petitioner, David Patchak, sued the Secretary of the Interior for taking land into trust on behalf of an Indian Tribe. While his suit was pending in the District Court, Congress enacted the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act (Gun Lake Act or Act), Pub.L. 113-179, 128 Stat. 1913, which [138 S.Ct. 903] provides that suits relating to the land " shall not be filed or maintained in a Federal court and shall be promptly dismissed." Patchak contends that, in enacting this statute, Congress impermissibly infringed the judicial power that Article III of the Constitution vests exclusively in the Judicial Branch. Because we disagree, we affirm the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

I

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Band) resides in southwestern Michigan, near the township of Wayland. The Band traces its relationship with the United States back hundreds of years, pointing to treaties it negotiated with the Federal Government as early as 1795. But the Secretary of the Interior did not formally recognize the Band until 1999. See 63 Fed.Reg. 56936 (1998); 65 Fed.Reg. 13298 (2000).

After obtaining formal recognition, the Band identified a 147-acre parcel of land in Wayland, known as the Bradley Property, where it wanted to build a casino. The Band asked the Secretary to invoke the Indian Reorganization Act, § 5, 48 Stat. 985, 25 U.S.C. § 5108, and take the Bradley Property into trust.1 In 2005, the Secretary agreed and posted a notice informing the public that the Bradley Property would be taken into trust for the Band. See 70 Fed.Reg. 25596 (2005).

The Michigan Gambling Opposition (MichGO) sued, alleging that the Secretary’s decision violated federal environmental and gaming laws. After several years of litigation, the D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal of MichGO’s claims, and this Court denied certiorari. Michigan Gambling Opposition v. Kempthorne, 525 F.3d 23 (2008), cert. denied, 555 U.S. 1137, 129 S.Ct. 1002, 173 L.Ed.2d 293 (2009). In January 2009, the Secretary formally took the Bradley Property into trust. And in February 2011, the Band opened its casino.

Before the Secretary formally took the land into trust, a nearby landowner, David Patchak, filed another lawsuit challenging the Secretarys decision. Invoking the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § § 702, 706(2), Patchak alleged that the Secretary lacked statutory authority to take the Bradley Property into trust for the Band. The Indian Reorganization Act does not allow the Secretary...

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