the Indian General Allotment Act of 1887, 25 U.S.C. §§ 331-48, and various other statutes, created an express trust for the benefit of the Indians. Mitchell I explicitly distinguished the fiduciary obligations created by statute that would entitle the plaintiff to money damages from the obligations created by the "special relationship" between the United States and Indian tribes. 445 U.S. at 546 n. 7. The Court specifically stated that it would not reach the latter issue in that case. Id. Similarly, in North Slope Borough v. Andrus, 206 U.S. App. D.C. 184, 642 F.2d 589 (1980), our court of appeals left open the question of whether the "special relationship" between the United States and Indian tribes in that case imposed specific fiduciary duties on the government that could render it liable for money damages even though no statutes specifically imposed trusteeship duties on the Government. Id. at 611 n. 148. Thus, the mere absence of specific statutes imposing a trust obligation with respect to the Indian tribes' right to self-government does not bar a claim seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that Congress has violated its special obligation to the Indians.
Our circuit court has recently reemphasized the principle that "Congress' power . . . '[is] subject to limitations inhering in . . . a guardianship.'" Littlewolf v. Lujan, 278 U.S. App. D.C. 270, 877 F.2d 1058, 1063 (1989) (quoting United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371, 415, 65 L. Ed. 2d 844, 100 S. Ct. 2716 (1980)). Although traditionally courts enforced trusteeship duties only against officers of the executive branch and considered Congress' trust obligations to derive merely from a moral obligation to deal with the Indians in good faith, the Supreme Court in recent years has laid to rest any notion that Congress' decisions regarding the Indian tribes are not reviewable. See Littlewolf v. Lujan, 877 F.2d at 1064; see, e.g., Delaware Tribal Business Comm. v. Weeks, 430 U.S. 73, 84, 51 L. Ed. 2d 173, 97 S. Ct. 911 (1977). According to our court of appeals, the test of the legitimacy of a Congressional enactment with regard to the special relationship between Congress and the Indians, as with that for testing the constitutionality of the legislation, is "whether Congress' exercise of its plenary power was reasonably related to its trust responsibility to the [Indians]." Littlewolf, at 1064; see also Delaware Tribal Business Comm. v. Weeks, 430 U.S. at 85. It is against these standards that the Gaming Act must be measured.
Plaintiffs begin with a heavy burden in challenging the Gaming Act. Congress' role as the policymaking branch of the federal government creates a presumption of legitimacy for congressional Acts. Littlewolf, [slip op.] at 10 (citing Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, 64, 69 L. Ed. 2d 478, 101 S. Ct. 2646 (1981)). The general deference due to Congress' decisions is reinforced by Congress' careful balancing of the competing interests reconciled by the Gaming Act, as indicated by the Act's legislative history. Id. The Senate Report on the bill that became the Act reflects concern for the "potential for the infiltration of organized crime or criminal elements in Indian gaming activities." S. Rep. 446, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. (1988). In reacting to this concern, the legislative history indicates that Congress considered "how best to preserve the right of tribes to self-government while, at the same time, to protect both the tribes and the gaming public from unscrupulous persons." Id. at 1-2 (1988) (attached as Ex. 1 to defendant's reply). Specifically, the legislative history demonstrates that Congress considered the Indians' "governmental interests including raising revenues to provide governmental services for the benefit of the tribal community and reservation residents, promoting public safety as well as law and order on tribal lands, realizing the objectives of economic self-sufficiency and Indian self-determination, and regulating activities of persons within its jurisdictional borders." Id. at 13. After deliberation, Congress reached the conclusion that the compact process ultimately settled on "is the best mechanism to assure that the interests of both sovereign entities are met . . . ." Id.
On the basis of the legislative history, summary judgment is appropriate on this claim. The Supreme Court itself has stated that the possibility that "tribal games are attractive to organized crime" would be one that would authorize "the Federal Government . . . to forbid Indian gambling enterprises." California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202, 221, 94 L. Ed. 2d 244, 107 S. Ct. 1083 (1987). Although plaintiffs argue that the Act was not needed to protect Indian tribes from infiltration by organized crime, in the Supreme Court's words, issues of legislative or public policy are "better addressed to the wisdom of Congress than to the judgment of courts." Miller v. Youakim, 440 U.S. 125, 141 n. 21, 59 L. Ed. 2d 194, 99 S. Ct. 957 (quoting Marquette Nat'l Bank v. First of Omaha Serv. Corp., 439 U.S. 299, 58 L. Ed. 2d 534, 99 S. Ct. 540 (1978)); see also Walters v. National Ass'n of Radiation Survivors, 473 U.S. 305, 319-20, 87 L. Ed. 2d 220, 105 S. Ct. 3180 (1985). Accordingly, defendant must prevail on plaintiff's claim that the Gaming Act violates Congress' special relationship with the Indians.
Plaintiffs also argue that the Act unconstitutionally interferes with the Indian tribes' fundamental right to self-government in violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs contend that Congress passed the Act without attempting to consider the interests of the Indians. Memorandum of Opposing Points and Authorities to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Sept. 22, 1989) ("Plaintiffs' Opposition"), at 15. They contend that the Act was passed because non-Indian gambling organizations pressured Congress to protect their interests and because prejudice against the Indians influenced the congressional vote. The government, in response, argues that Congress passed the Act to shield the Indians from criminal or corrupting influences and that the Act does not violate the due process clause.
Although plaintiffs request application of strict scrutiny to the alleged deprivation of due process, the Supreme Court in Washington v. Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. 463, 501, 58 L. Ed. 2d 740, 99 S. Ct. 740 (1979), stated that the right to self-determination must be evaluated under rational relation scrutiny because "it is well established that Congress, in the exercise of its plenary power over Indian affairs, may restrict the retained sovereign powers of the Indian tribes." Id. Under the rational relation test set out in Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 41 L. Ed. 2d 290, 94 S. Ct. 2474 (1974), "as long as the special treatment can be tied rationally to the fulfillment of Congress' unique obligation toward the Indians, such legislative judgments will not be disturbed." Id. at 555; see also Littlewolf v. Lujan, 877 F.2d at 1064. Because Congress could reasonably address the concern of infiltration of organized crime into Indian gaming through passage of the Act, and in this way fulfill its unique obligation to the Indians, as indicated supra Part C, plaintiff's claim that the Act violates the due process guarantee fails.
Finally, plaintiffs argue that the statutory scheme of the Act violates Article III of the Constitution, which defines the judicial power of federal courts. The Act provides for federal court jurisdiction in cases in which either an Indian tribe or a state has failed to enter into negotiation of a tribal-state compact in good faith. Judicial relief, however, is limited to ordering the parties to conclude a compact within sixty days and, failing agreement after that time, to submit the dispute to a court-appointed mediator. Plaintiffs argue that, by restricting the remedies available to courts in this manner, the Act denies the courts its constitutional function of resolving "cases or controversies." According to plaintiffs, "without the availability of judicial relief, the case lacks justiciability." Plaintiffs' Opposition at 40. Defendant disputes this contention.
The claim that the Constitution's limitation of the judicial power to cases or controversies prohibits federal courts from hearing cases in which a full panoply of remedies is not available has long since been disposed of by the Supreme Court, however. In Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 81 L. Ed. 617, 57 S. Ct. 461 (1937), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Declaratory Judgment Act, which gives the federal courts power to declare rights "whether or not further relief is or could be prayed." 28 U.S.C. § 400. According to the Supreme Court,
in providing remedies and defining procedure in relation to cases and controversies in the constitutional sense the Congress is acting within its delegated power over the jurisdiction of the federal courts which the Congress is authorized to establish. Exercising this control of practice and procedure the Congress is not confined to traditional forms or traditional remedies. The judiciary clause of the Constitution "did not crystallize into changeless form the procedure of 1789 as the only possible means for presenting a case or controversy otherwise cognizable by the federal courts." Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis R. Co. v. Wallace, 288 U.S. 249, 264 [77 L. Ed. 730, 53 S. Ct. 345 (1933)]. In dealing with methods within its sphere of remedial action the Congress may create and improve as well as abolish or restrict.
300 U.S. at 240 (citations omitted). In this case, the Gaming Act falls well within the ambits of constitutional power. The Act therefore does not present to the courts cases lacking justiciability.
Plaintiffs also argue that the Act's statutory scheme must be struck down because it requires federal courts to adjudicate political questions. Plaintiffs argue that resolution of tribal-state disputes over proposed compacts will turn on policy determinations by states, tribal governments, and federal branches of government that may not be adjudicated in federal court. Plaintiffs' Opposition, at 42; see Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. at 217. Plaintiffs also contend that no judicially discoverable and manageable standards would allow the judiciary to properly adjudicate this dispute.
According to the Act, however, the role of a district court is to apply a bad faith standard to the negotiations and to order the parties to conclude a compact in good faith. Neither of these actions would involve the judiciary in policy determinations "of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion." Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. at 217. Moreover, presentation of the issue of whether compact negotiations were entered in bad faith does not present "a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it." Id. Instead, resolution of this issue involves the type of factfinding for which Article III courts are competent to handle. Consequently, plaintiffs' claim that the Act presents a non-justiciable political question to courts must be dismissed.
Because plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of pleading or proof on each count, the accompanying Order grants defendant's motion to dismiss and dismisses the above-captioned complaint.
ORDER - June 4, 1990, Filed
For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, it is this 3rd day of June, 1990, hereby
ORDERED: that defendant's motion to dismiss should be, and is hereby, GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED: that the complaint in the above-captioned action should be, and is hereby, DISMISSED.