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Patchak v. Jewell

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

July 15, 2016

David Patchak, Appellant
v.
Sally Jewell, in her official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, et al., Appellees

          Argued May 13, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:08-cv-01331)

          Sharon Y. Eubanks argued the cause and filed the briefs for Appellant.

          Lane 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.

          Nicole 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.

          OPINION

          Wilkins, Circuit Judge:

         David 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 Lake Tribe.

         Following 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.

         Mr. 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.

         I.

         The 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.

         David 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.[1] The Gun Lake Tribe intervened as a defendant.

         In 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.

         In the 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 ...

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