Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:08 AM
eppur_se_muova (25,149 posts)
US government ordered to reimburse Native Americans
The US Supreme Court has ordered the government to repay Native American tribes the costs of providing public services, in a ruling that could be worth millions of dollars.
Under federal laws which allow the tribes to manage their own affairs, the government must reimburse them for the costs of these facilities.
But between 1994-2001 the Congress failed to allocate enough money.
The tribes will now be paid in the same way as any private contractor.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18501140
1994-2001 ... hmmm ... who was running Congress in those years ?
8 replies, 2861 views
US government ordered to reimburse Native Americans (Original post)
|sofa king||Jun 2012||#8|
Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)
Tue Jun 19, 2012, 01:39 AM
Scootaloo (24,131 posts)
2. My question is, who exactly will that money be going to?
Not that this isn't a laudable decision. it's just that many tribal governments aren't exactly what we could call "on the up and up," and exist mostly for the enrichment of a few family members off BIA dollars.
Response to Scootaloo (Reply #2)
Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:45 PM
sofa king (9,720 posts)
8. I think it is up to the tribal gov'ts.
I never saw a reimbursement for tribes that wasn't a fraction of the original damages and loss, that could even out the books, or which would go very far among tribal members.
I saw plenty of shady shit at every stop along that line from Congress to the tribal office, too--really scary and expensive stuff that makes tribal politics fall to insignificance by comparison.
So I encourage you to watch and see just how much of that money trickles into the tribal office in subsequent decades. You may have a long wait yet.
Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)
Tue Jun 19, 2012, 05:17 PM
happyslug (14,596 posts)
6. Here is the actual Court Opinion
Last edited Tue Jun 19, 2012, 06:43 PM - Edit history (4)
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR Wrote the opinion, joined by SCALIA,
KENNEDY, THOMAS, and KAGAN.
ROBERTS, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ.
Notice the key was Scalia and Thomas voting with Kennedy, Kagan and Sotommayor. Breyer and Ginsburg went with Roberts and Alito with Roberts writing the dissent.
Interesting grouping, Scalia is considered the "expert" on administrative law on the court, that was his expertise when he was a Law Professor. That explains his and Thomas's vote.
This case involves the "Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA), 25 U. S. C. §450 et seq., / passed in 1975. Under that act any tribe that opt to do so, could provide certain services themselves as a contract to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This included law enforcement, environmental protection, and agricultural assistance.
Prior to fiscal year 1994 Congress appropriated enough money to pay such contracts, but with fiscal 1994 Congress started to under-fund the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The Native American tribes would NOT find out how much of the money they would receive under the above act till well into the fiscal year. Each tribe getting 77-92 % of what they had contracted to do.
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act provided for enforcement of the contracts agreed to be court action, which the tribes entered into. The dispute between the majority and dissent, was could the tribe sue the Federal Government for what they had contracted to do, but collectively Congress did not provide enough money to pay.
The majority position was simple, as long as EACH TRIBES CONTRACT was less then the amount appropriated by Congress, even if ALL of the Tribes Contracts exceeded that amount, the Government MUST pay each contract in full even if the Act included the term “subject to the availability of appropriations,” The Majority reasoned that since NORMAL Government Contracts MUST be paid in full, if Congress appropriations exceeded the amount any any one contract even if all of the Contracts together exceeded the amount of the appropriations, that same rule should apply to contract with the Native American Tribes authorized under The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.
The dissent is much shorter centered on one phase in the Act, But this
case involves not only those provisions but a third, relieving the Secretary of any obligation to make funds “available” to one contractor by reducing payments to others The majority dismisses this argument as violation of any other rule the courts have adopted when contracts are involved, and points out that wording is just saying that the BIA can NOT take money back from one tribe to give to another to balance out the appropriation.
The dissent say the adoption of that one extra phase changes everything. The dissent say if Congress does NOT provide enough money, the Bureau of Indian Affairs total outlay in that area can NOT exceed that amount even if the tribes lose money they had contracted to received for duties performed.
As the Majority points out, the dissent's position is NOT used in any other Contracts with the Government. The rule is a contractor only has to look at the appropriation of Congress, if the appropriated amount exceeds the contract entered into, the contract is legally enforceable (i.e. if a contractor entered a contract for a set amount of money that exceeds what Congress has appropriated for that purpose, the contractor is held to the limit set by Congress. but if the Contractor had entered into a Contract for a lesser amount, but when combined with other contracts with other contractors exceeds that amount, it is the Government that takes the hit NOT any of the Contractors).
The majority saw no reason to adopt a different rule for contracts entered into under "Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act" as opposed to any other rule involving contracts with the Government, while the dissent says it saw a reason under the terms of the "Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act" for a different rule to be the law if the contract was entered into under the "Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act".
The dispute is over the language of what Congress passed in 1975, which the Majority pointed out Congress can change if it dislikes what the Supreme Court has done.