Friday, November 29, 2013

Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States case brief

Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States case brief summary
348 U.S. 272 (1955)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner American Indian group appealed from the United States Court of Claims which held that respondent United States did not owe petitioner just compensation pursuant to the U.S. Const. amend. V for the taking of land that petitioner occupied in Alaska, land in which petitioner had original Indian title.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner American Indian group alleged that respondent United States owed it just compensation pursuant to the U.S. Const. amend. V for the taking of land that petitioner occupied in Alaska. Petitioner argued that Congress had sufficiently recognized its possessory rights in the land so as to make its interest compensable. The court of claims adopted the findings of a commissioner which determined that petitioner's interest in the land was that of original Indian title, and that such title was not a sufficient basis to maintain the suit because there had been no recognition by Congress of any legal rights in petitioner to the land in question. The court of claims then dismissed petitioner's suit. The court granted certiorari to review the case and determine the nature of petitioner's interest in the land, if any.

DISCUSSION
  • Upon review the court affirmed the court of claims. 
  • The court held that the certain statutes that petitioner cited did not indicate any intention by Congress to grant to petitioner any permanent rights in the lands that they occupied by permission of Congress. 
  • Therefore the court held that the taking by respondent of this unrecognized title was not compensable.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the order of the court of claims which held that respondent United States did not owe petitioner American Indian group just compensation under the Fifth Amendment for the taking of land in which petitioner had original Indian title because Congress never intended to grant petitioner any permanent rights in the land, and the taking by respondent of petitioner's unrecognized title was not compensable.

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