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Carcieri v. Norton

Citation: 35 ELR 20035
No. No. 03-2647, (1st Cir., 02/09/2005)

The First Circuit upheld the Secretary of the Interior's decision to take into trust a 31-acre parcel of land located in Charleston, Rhode Island, for the benefit of the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island. The Indian Reorganization Act authorized the Secretary to acquire the land in trust for the benefit of the tribe. This authority extends to the tribe regardless of the status of its acknowledgement in 1934 when the statute was enacted. Further, the Act does not constitute an unlawful delegation of congressional authority or offend the Enclave Clause, the Admissions Clause, or the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Nor does the Rhode Island Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1978 prohibit the creation of sovereign territory for the tribe, and the Secretary's acceptance of the parcel into trust was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and/or otherwise not in accordance with the law. The court, however, did not make any determination regarding the applicability of the state's civil and criminal laws and jurisdiction on the new trust land.