United States v. Navajo Nation

Indian Tucker Act

Question(s) Presented

1. “Whether the court of appeals’ holding that the United States breached fiduciary duties in connection with the Navajo coal lease amendments is foreclosed by [United States v. Navajo Nation, 537 U.S. 488 (Navajo I)].” 2. “If Navajo [I] did not foreclose the question, whether the court of appeals properly held that the United States is liable as a matter of law to the Navajo Nation for up to $600 million for the Secretary’s actions in connection with his approval of amendments to an Indian mineral lease based on several statutes that do not address royalty rates in tribal leases and common-law principles not embodied in a governing statute or regulation.”


1. “[W]e cannot say that our mandate completely foreclosed the possibility that . . . a statute might allow for the Tribe to succeed on remand. What we can say, however, is that our reasoning in Navajo I—in particular, our emphasis on the need for courts to ‘train on specific rights-creating or duty-imposing statutory or regulatory prescriptions,’ 537 U.S., at 506—left no room for that result based on the sources of law that the Court of Appeals relied upon.” 2. “Today we hold, once again, that the Tribe’s claim for compensation fails. . . . None of the sources of law cited by the Federal Circuit and relied upon by the Tribe provides any more sound a basis for its breach-of-trust lawsuit against the Federal Government than those we analyzed in Navajo I.”