On February 24, 2009 the Supreme Court decided Carcieri v. Salazar, No. 07-526.
In 1934, Congress enacted the Indian Reorganization Act, which allowed the Secretary of the Interior to acquire land and hold it in trust to provide land for Indians "now under federal jurisdiction." The question presented for the court was whether the authority extended to tribes in existence as of 1934 but not yet under federal jurisdiction. The court held that it did not extend that far, and because the Narragansett Tribe was not under federal jurisdiction in 1934, the Secretary of the Interior had no authority to take land into trust for the Tribe. Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Souter filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Stevens filed a dissenting opinion.