United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
May 13, 2016
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia (No. 1:08-cv-01331)
Y. Eubanks argued the cause and filed the briefs for
N. McFadden, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the
cause for federal Appellees. With him on the brief was John
C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General.
E. Ducheneaux and Conly J. Schulte were on the brief for
intervenor Defendant-Appellees Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band
of Pottawatomi Indians.
Before: Rogers, Pillard and Wilkins, Circuit Judges.
Wilkins, Circuit Judge:
Patchak brought this suit under the Administrative Procedure
Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 702, 705, challenging the
authority of the Department of the Interior to take title to
a particular tract of land under the Indian Reorganization
Act (IRA), 25 U.S.C. § 465. The land, called the Bradley
Property, had been put into trust for the use of the
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians in
Michigan, otherwise known as the Gun Lake Band or the Gun
the Supreme Court's determination in 2012 that Mr.
Patchak had prudential standing to bring this lawsuit,
see Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
v. Patchak, 132 S.Ct. 2199, 2212 (2012), Congress passed
the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act (the Gun Lake Act),
Pub. L. No. 113-179, 128 Stat. 1913 (2014), a stand-alone
statute reaffirming the Department of the Interior's
decision to take the land in question into trust for the Gun
Lake Tribe, and removing jurisdiction from the federal courts
over any actions relating to that property. Taking into
account this new legal landscape, the District Court
determined on summary judgment that it was stripped of its
jurisdiction to consider Mr. Patchak's claim. Holding
additionally that the Act was not constitutionally infirm, as
Mr. Patchak contended, the District Court dismissed the case.
Patchak now appeals the dismissal of his suit, as well as a
collateral decision regarding the District Court's denial
of a motion to strike a supplement to the administrative
record. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the District
Court's determination that the Gun Lake Act is
constitutionally sound and, accordingly, that Mr.
Patchak's suit must be dismissed. We further conclude
that the District Court did not abuse its discretion by
denying Mr. Patchak's motion to strike a supplement to
the administrative record.
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (the Gun
Lake Tribe) is an Indian tribe whose members descend from a
band of Pottawatomi Indians, led by Chief
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish, who occupied present day western
Michigan. See Proposed Findings for Acknowledgement of
the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of
Michigan, 62 Fed. Reg. 38113, 38113 (July 16, 1997).
While the Tribe had been a party to many treaties with the
United States government in the 18th and 19th centuries, it
only began pursuing federal acknowledgement under the modern
regulatory regime of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 25 C.F.R.
§§ 83.1-83.46, in 1992. The Tribe was formally
recognized by the Department of the Interior in 1999. In
2001, the Tribe petitioned for a tract of land in Wayland
Township, Michigan – called the Bradley Property
– to be put into trust under the IRA. The Tribe sought
to use the land to construct and operate a gaming and
entertainment facility. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved
the petition in 2005, placing the Bradley Property into trust
for the Tribe's use. See Notice of
Determination, 70 Fed. Reg. 25596, 25596 (May 13, 2005).
The Gun Lake Casino opened on February 10, 2011.
Patchak lives in a rural area of Wayland Township commonly
referred to as Shelbyville, in close proximity to the Bradley
Property. Mr. Patchak asserts that he moved to the area
because of its unique rural setting, and that he values the
quiet life afforded him there. Mr. Patchak filed the present
lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior and the
Assistant Secretary of the Interior for the Bureau of Indian
Affairs on August 1, 2008, invoking the court's
jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5
U.S.C. §§ 702, 705. Mr. Patchak claimed that he
would be injured by the construction and operation of a
casino in his community because it would, among other things,
irreversibly change the rural character of the area, increase
traffic and pollution, and divert local resources away from
existing residents. Mr. Patchak argued that because the Tribe
was not formally recognized when the IRA was enacted in June
1934, the Secretary lacked the authority to put the Bradley
Property into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe. The Gun Lake Tribe intervened as a
response to Mr. Patchak's complaint, the United States
and the Tribe claimed that Mr. Patchak lacked prudential
standing because his interest in the Bradley Property was
"fundamentally at odds with the purpose of the IRA"
and he therefore did not fall within the IRA's "zone
of interests." Patchak v. Salazar, 646
F.Supp.2d 72, 76 (D.D.C. 2009). The District Court agreed,
and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Id. at 76, 79. Patchak appealed to
this Court, and we reversed. See Patchak v. Salazar,
632 F.3d 702 (D.C. Cir. 2011). The Supreme Court agreed,
holding that Patchak did indeed have prudential standing to
bring his suit. See Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of
Pottawatomi Indians, 132 S.Ct. at 2212. The case was
remanded to the District Court for further proceedings.
time between the Supreme Court's prudential standing
determination and the parties' renewed attention to the
case, both the Department of the Interior and Congress
weighed in further on the legal status of the Gun Lake Tribe
and the Bradley Property, respectively. First, the Department
of the Interior issued an Amended Notice of Decision
approving an application the Tribe had submitted for two
other parcels of land it sought to acquire. As part of this
Notice of Decision, the Secretary expressly considered, and
confirmed, its authority to take land into trust for the
benefit of the Gun Lake Tribe. Second, on September 26, 2014,
President Obama signed the Gun Lake Act into law. The
substantive text of the Gun Lake Act is as follows:
(a)IN GENERAL.-The land taken into trust by the United States
for the benefit of the Match–E–Be–
Nash–She–Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians and
described in the final Notice of Determination of the
Department of the Interior (70 Fed. Reg. 25596 (May 13,
2005)) is reaffirmed as trust land, and the actions of the
Secretary of the Interior in taking that land into trust are
ratified and confirmed.
(b) NO CLAIMS.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
action (including an action pending in a Federal court as of
the date of enactment of this Act) relating to the land
described in subsection (a) shall not be filed or maintained
in a Federal court and shall be promptly dismissed.
(c) RETENTION OF FUTURE RIGHTS.-Nothing in this Act alters or
diminishes the right of the Match–
E–Be–Nash–She–Wish Band of
Pottawatomi Indians from seeking to have any additional land
taken into ...