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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Seminole Nation, 299 U.S. 417 (1937)

United States v. Seminole Nation

No. 172

Argued December 10, 1936

Decided January 4, 1937

299 U.S. 417


1. A second motion for new trial made by the United States, by leave of the Court of Claims held to have been filed under Rule 91 of the Court of Claims, requiring leave of court, and not under 28 U.S.C. § 282; Jud.Code, § 175. P. 299 U. S. 419.

2. The time within which application may be made to this Court for review by certiorari does not commence to run until after disposition of motion for a new trial seasonably filed and entertained. P. 299 U. S. 421.

3. The Court of Claims is without jurisdiction to adjudicate causes of action against the United States which were introduced into the claimant's petition by amendment after the expiration of the time for beginning suit as limited by the jurisdictional statute. P. 299 U. S. 421.

4. A judgment of the Court of Claims may not be sustained as to any item that was not included in a cause of action set up in a petition filed within the time allowed by statute, or that was, by the findings or otherwise, put upon a ground not alleged in a petition so filed. P. 299 U. S. 422.

5. A judgment of the Court of Claims may not be upheld as to any item that is not supported by definite findings of fact extending to all essential issues and which, unaided by statements in the court's conclusions of law or its opinion, are clearly sufficient to entitle plaintiff to recover. P. 299 U. S. 422.

6. Under Acts of Congress authorizing suit in the Court of Claims, to be commenced before a day prescribed, the Seminole Nation filed, in time, a petition seeking recovery, with interest, of tribal funds alleged to have been spent by the Government since July 1, 1898, without authority from Congress and in violation of its duty as trustee and of treaties and agreements with the tribe. The petition was amended after the limitation period had expired.

Held (pp. 299 U. S. 422 et seq.):

(1) That a judgment for the plaintiff could not be sustained insofar as it included:

(a) Various items outside of the period alleged in the original petition, or not shown by the findings to be included in any cause of action alleged in the original petition to have accrued in that period. Pp. 299 U. S. 425 et seq. chanrobles.com-red

Page 299 U. S. 418

(b) Interest on a tribal fund, appropriated by Congress for the purpose of making per capita payments, and alleged not to have been disbursed to members or paid to the tribal treasurer, but not found to have been disbursed or spent illegally. P. 299 U. S. 426.

(c) An amount, which was disbursed as per capita payments from capital previously set apart as a permanent school fund.

(d) Amounts disbursed out of the principal of that fund for education. Pp. 299 U. S. 430-431.

(2) Payments out of the Seminole school fund for equalization of allotments not otherwise "authorized by law" were not permitted by the Indian Appropriation Act of February 14, 1920, and their amount was properly included in the judgment in this case. P. 299 U. S. 431.

7. In the process of liquidating the affairs of the Seminole Nation, Congress, by § 18 of the Indian Appropriation Act of May 25, 1918, authorized the Secretary of the Interior to make per capita payments to enrolled Seminoles, or their lawful heirs, out of the Seminole school fund, and the authority was not confined to the particular fiscal year. P. 299 U. S. 428.

8. The Indian Appropriation Acts for the years 1922-1930, authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to continue Seminole schools with tribal funds, were passed by Congress with knowledge that the fund, in pursuance of its authority, had been so depleted that interest on the amount remaining in it would not meet even the lessened requirements, and are to be construed as contemplating the use of not merely the interest on the diminished school fund, but of the principal also. P. 299 U. S. 431.

82 Ct.Cls. 135 reversed.

Certiorari to review a judgment allowing various claims of the Seminole Nation in a suit against the United States. chanrobles.com-red

Page 299 U. S. 419


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