Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak

Decision Date18 June 2012
Docket NumberNos. 11–246,11–247.,s. 11–246
Parties MATCH–E–BE–NASH–SHE–WISH BAND OF POTTAWATOMI INDIANS, Petitioners v. David PATCHAK et al. Ken L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., Petitioners v. David Patchak et al.
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

567 U.S. 209
132 S.Ct. 2199
183 L.Ed.2d 211

MATCH–E–BE–NASH–SHE–WISH BAND OF POTTAWATOMI INDIANS, Petitioners
v.
David PATCHAK et al.

Ken L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, et al., Petitioners
v.
David Patchak et al.

Nos. 11–246
11–247.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued April 24, 2012.
Decided June 18, 2012.


Conly J. Schulte, Shilee T. Mullin, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP, Louisville, CO, Patricia A. Millett, Counsel of Record, James T. Meggesto, James E. Tysse, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC, Amit Kurlekar, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, San Francisco, CA, Michael C. Small, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for Petitioner Match–E–Be–Nash–She–Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Brian J. Murray, Jones Day, Chicago, IL, David M. Cooper, Jones Day, New York, NY, Daniel P. Ettinger, Counsel of Record, Matthew T. Nelson, Aaron D. Lindstrom, Nicole L. Mazzocco, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Grand Rapids, MI, for Respondent David Patchak.

Hilary C. Tompkins, Solicitor, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Solicitor General, Counsel of Record, Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General, Edwin S. Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General, Eric D. Miller, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Aaron P. Avila, Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for the Federal Petitioners.

Justice KAGAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

567 U.S. 211

A provision of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), 25 U.S.C. § 465, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to acquire property " for the purpose of providing land for Indians." Ch. 576, § 5, 48 Stat. 985. The Secretary here acquired land in trust for an Indian tribe seeking to open a

567 U.S. 212

casino. Respondent David Patchak lives near that land and challenges the Secretary's decision in a suit brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq . Patchak

132 S.Ct. 2203

claims that the Secretary lacked authority under § 465 to take title to the land, and alleges economic, environmental, and aesthetic harms from the casino's operation.

We consider two questions arising from Patchak's action. The first is whether the United States has sovereign immunity from the suit by virtue of the Quiet Title Act (QTA), 86 Stat. 1176. We think it does not. The second is whether Patchak has prudential standing to challenge the Secretary's acquisition. We think he does. We therefore hold that Patchak's suit may proceed.

I

The Match–E–Be–Nash–She–Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Band) is an Indian tribe residing in rural Michigan. Although the Band has a long history, the Department of the Interior (DOI) formally recognized it only in 1999. See 63 Fed.Reg. 56936 (1998). Two years later, the Band petitioned the Secretary to exercise her authority under § 465 by taking into trust a tract of land in Wayland Township, Michigan, known as the Bradley Property. The Band's application explained that the Band would use the property "for gaming purposes," with the goal of generating the "revenue necessary to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and a strong tribal government capable of providing its members with sorely needed social and educational programs." App. 52, 41.1

567 U.S. 213

In 2005, after a lengthy administrative review, the Secretary announced her decision to acquire the Bradley Property in trust for the Band. See 70 Fed.Reg. 25596. In accordance with applicable regulations, the Secretary committed to wait 30 days before taking action, so that interested parties could seek judicial review. See ibid. ; 25 CFR § 151.12(b) (2011). Within that window, an organization called Michigan Gambling Opposition (or MichGO) filed suit alleging that the Secretary's decision violated environmental and gaming statutes. The Secretary held off taking title to the property while that litigation proceeded. Within the next few years, a District Court and the D.C. Circuit rejected MichGO's claims. See Michigan Gambling Opposition v. Kempthorne, 525 F.3d 23, 27–28 (C.A.D.C. 2008) ; Michigan Gambling Opposition v. Norton, 477 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C.2007).

Shortly after the D.C. Circuit ruled against MichGO (but still before the Secretary took title), Patchak filed this suit under the APA advancing a different legal theory. He asserted that § 465 did not authorize the Secretary to acquire property for the Band because it was not a federally recognized tribe when the IRA was enacted in 1934. See App. 37. To establish his standing to bring suit, Patchak contended that he lived "in close proximity to" the Bradley Property and that a casino there would "destroy the lifestyle he has enjoyed" by causing "increased traffic," "increased crime," "decreased property values," "an irreversible change in the rural character of the area," and "other aesthetic, socioeconomic, and environmental problems." Id., at 30–31. Notably, Patchak did not assert any claim of his own to the Bradley Property. He requested only a declaration that the decision to acquire the land violated the IRA

132 S.Ct. 2204

and an injunction to stop the Secretary from accepting title. See id., at 38–39. The Band intervened in the suit to defend the Secretary's decision.

In January 2009, about five months after Patchak filed suit, this Court denied certiorari in MichGO's case, 555 U.S. 1137, 129 S.Ct. 1002, 173 L.Ed.2d 293,

567 U.S. 214

and the Secretary took the Bradley Property into trust. That action mooted Patchak's request for an injunction to prevent the acquisition, and all parties agree that the suit now effectively seeks to divest the Federal Government of title to the land. See Brief for Match–E–Be–Nash–She–Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians 17 (hereinafter Tribal Petitioner); Brief for Federal Petitioners 11; Brief for Respondent 24–25. The month after the Government took title, this Court held in Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379, 382, 129 S.Ct. 1058, 172 L.Ed.2d 791 (2009), that § 465 authorizes the Secretary to take land into trust only for tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.2

The District Court dismissed the suit without considering the merits (including the relevance of Carcieri ), ruling that Patchak lacked prudential standing to challenge the Secretary's acquisition of the Bradley Property. The court reasoned that the injuries Patchak alleged fell outside § 465's "zone of interests." 646 F.Supp.2d 72, 76 (D.D.C.2009). The D.C. Circuit reversed that determination. See 632 F.3d 702, 704–707 (2011). The court also rejected the Secretary's and the Band's alternative argument that by virtue of the QTA, sovereign immunity barred the suit. See id., at 707–712. The latter ruling conflicted with decisions of three Circuits holding that the United States has immunity from suits like Patchak's. See Neighbors for Rational Development, Inc. v. Norton, 379 F.3d 956, 961–962 (C.A.10 2004) ; Metropolitan Water Dist. of Southern Cal. v. United States, 830 F.2d 139, 143–144 (C.A.9 1987)(per curiam) ; Florida Dept. of Bus. Regulation v. Department of Interior, 768 F.2d 1248, 1253–1255 (C.A.11 1985). We granted certiorari to review both of

567 U.S. 215

the D.C. Circuit's holdings, 565 U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 845, 181 L.Ed.2d 548 (2011), and we now affirm.

II

We begin by considering whether the United States' sovereign immunity bars Patchak's suit under the APA. That requires us first to look to the APA itself and then, for reasons we will describe, to the QTA. We conclude that the United States has waived its sovereign immunity from Patchak's action.

The APA generally waives the Federal Government's immunity from a suit "seeking relief other than money damages and stating a claim that an agency or an officer or employee thereof acted or failed to act in an official capacity or under color of legal authority." 5 U.S.C. § 702. That waiver would appear to cover Patchak's suit, which objects to official action of the Secretary and seeks only non-monetary relief. But the APA's waiver of immunity comes with an important carve-out: The waiver does not apply "if any other statute that grants consent to suit expressly or impliedly forbids the relief which is sought" by the plaintiff. Ibid. That provision prevents plaintiffs from exploiting the APA's waiver to evade limitations on

132 S.Ct. 2205

suit contained in other statutes. The question thus becomes whether another statute bars Patchak's demand for relief.

The Government and Band contend that the QTA does so. The QTA authorizes (and so waives the Government's sovereign immunity from) a particular type of action, known as a quiet title suit: a suit by a plaintiff asserting a "right, title, or interest" in real property that conflicts with a "right, title, or interest" the United States claims. 28 U.S.C. § 2409a(d). The statute, however, contains an exception: The QTA's authorization of suit "does not apply to trust or restricted Indian...

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