Here’s the order. The Court will address two questions:
1. Whether the 1934 Act empowers the Secretary to take land into trust for Indian tribes that were not recognized and under federal jurisdiction in 1934.
2. Whether an act of Congress that extinguishes aboriginal title and all claims based on Indian rights and interests in land precludes the Secretary from creating Indian country there.
The Court declined to hear the third proposed question presented:
3. Whether providing land “for Indians” in the 1934 Act establishes a sufficiently intelligible principle upon which to delegate the power to take land into trust.
SCOTUSBlog lists Carcieri v. Kempthorne as a petition to watch for the Feb. 22 conference.
There are some warning signs, notably the amicus brief filed by numerous states in support of Rhode Island’s petition. See Gregory A. Caldiera & John R. Wright, Organized Interests and Agenda Setting in the U.S. Supreme Court, 82 American Political Science Review 1109, 1122 (1988 ) (“[A]micus curiae briefs filed in support of the petition for certiorari increase the estimated probability that the Supreme Court will grant by a magnitude of .5 or .6, depending upon the characteristics of a particular case.”).
As I argued earlier, however, (1) there is no circuit split; and (2) the issue may turn on the particular import of the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act, meaning that the outcome could have little or no import nationally. Moreover, the United States is in opposition, so these factors may be sufficient to persuade the Court to let this one percolate.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah have just filed an amicus brief supporting the State of Rhode Island’s petition for cert in Carcieri v. Kempthorne.
The brief is here: State Amicus Brief Supporting Cert Petition