Solem v. Bartlett

PETITIONER: Solem
RESPONDENT: Bartlett
LOCATION: Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida - Dade County

DOCKET NO.: 82-1253
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 465 US 463 (1984)
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1983
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1984

ADVOCATES:
Arlinda F. Locklear - on behalf of the Respondent
Mark V. Meierhenry - on behalf of the Petitioner
Tom D. Tobin - on behalf of the amici curiae

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Solem v. Bartlett

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1983 in Solem v. Bartlett

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 22, 1984 in Solem v. Bartlett

Warren E. Burger:

Justice Marshal has two opinions to announce.

Thurgood Marshall:

The first one is Solem against Bartlett, 82-1253.

This case is before us on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The question presented is whether an Act of Congress passed in 1908 diminished the boundaries of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, which is located in North and South Dakota.

In two recent opinions, the South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that the 1908 Act did diminish the reservation.

However, in this case, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the Act did not alter reservation boundaries.

We grant the certiorari to resolve this conflict.

In an opinion filed with the clerk today, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

As we upheld in the past, an Act of Congress or the circumstances of the Act's passage must clearly demonstrate a congressional purpose to reduce the size of an Indian reservation before we will find that the legislation diminished Indian lands.

In the absence of such a clear demonstration, we assumed that Congress could not intend to change reservation boundaries.

The Act of May 29, 1908 does not unambiguously demonstrate the Congressman to diminish the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation nor do the events surrounding the passage of the 1908 Act.

We therefore agree with the Eighth Circuit that the 1908 Act did not diminish the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the judgment of the Eighth Circuit is affirmed.