RESPONDENT: Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation
LOCATION: District Court of Lincoln County
DOCKET NO.: 74-1656
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
CITATION: 425 US 463 (1976)
ARGUED: Jan 20, 1976
DECIDED: Apr 27, 1976
Richard A. Baenen - for The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation et al.
Sam E. Haddon - for John C
Facts of the case
Media for Moe v. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead ReservationAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1976 in Moe v. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 27, 1976 in Moe v. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation
Warren E. Burger:
The judgments and opinion of the court in 74-1656 Moe against the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and 7550 consolidated with that case will be announced by Mr. Justice Rehnquist and he will also announce the judgment and the opinion of the court in 74-5822 Hampton against the United States.
William H. Rehnquist:
In the first of these cases Moe Salish and the Consolidated Kootenai Tribes, actions were brought principally against the State of Montana's Department of Revenue in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, and the Tribe attacked a variety of state taxes sought to be collected by the states from Indians residing on the flathead reservation, on a ground that neither the constitution nor any act of Congress authorize such taxation.
The District Court found jurisdiction over the tribe's claim despite the apparent barrier that Congress had established by the Anti-Injunction Act and on the merits it agreed with the tribe that with one exception the state taxes were invalid.
The state officials have appealed and the tribe has appealed as to the exception found by the District Court.
We hold first that the District Court properly entertained jurisdiction over the tribe's attack on the taxes involved not withstanding the Anti-Injunction Act.
We hold second that the imposition of a personal property tax on property such as automobiles owned by Indians residing on the reservation has not been authorized by Congress.
Whether or not the payment of such attacks is a precondition of the Indians registration of his automobile.
Although we know it parenthetically that regulated both parties have conceded and we agree that the state may require reservation Indians to pay a fee to actually license a motor vehicle which is driven on the public highways.
And thirdly the imposition of a state sales tax and a vendor's license fee on the retail sales of cigarettes by reservation Indians who operate so called Smoke Shops, on tribal trust land is invalid to the extent that these sales are made two Indians who live on the reservation.
But such cigarette sales taxes are valid with respect to sales by Indian vendors to non-Indians.
The sales tax in this latter situation impacts solely on the non Indian purchaser and we hold that the state may require the Indian vendor to pre-collect it.
The judgment of the District Court therefore is affirmed both on the appeal of the state officials and on the appeal of the tribe.