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Supreme Court of the United States
Argued April 20, 1976 ; June 14, 1976
[*375] [***713] [**2104] MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents the question reserved in McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Comm'n, 411 U.S. 164, 178 n. 18 (1973): whether [****5] the grant of civil jurisdiction to the States conferred by § 4 of Pub. L. 280, 67 Stat. 589, 28 U.S.C. § 1360, is a congressional grant of power to the States to tax reservation Indians except insofar as taxation is expressly excluded by the terms of the statute.
Petitioner Russell Bryan, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, 2 resides in a mobile home on land held in trust by the United States for the Chippewa Tribe on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. In June 1972, petitioner received notices from the auditor of respondent [**2105] Itasca County, Minn., that he had been assessed personal property tax liability on the mobile home totaling $147.95. Thereafter, in September 1972, petitioner brought this suit in the Minnesota District Court seeking a declaratory judgment that the State and county were without authority to levy such a tax on personal property of a reservation Indian on the reservation and that imposition of such a tax was contrary to federal law. The Minnesota District Court rejected the contention and entered judgment for respondent county. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed, 303 Minn. 395, 228 N.W. 2d 249 (1975). We granted certiorari, 423 U.S. [****6] 923 (1975), and now reverse.
Principles defining the power of States to tax reservation [***714] Indians [*376] and their property and activities on federally established reservations were clarified in McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Comm'n, supra. As summarized in its companion case, Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Jones, 411 U.S. 145 (1973), McClanahan concluded: S
"[I] n the special area of state taxation, absent cession of jurisdiction or other federal statutes permitting it, there has been no satisfactory authority for taxing Indian reservation lands or Indian income from activities carried on within the boundaries of the reservation, and McClanahan… lays to rest any doubt in this respect by holding that ] such taxation is not permissible absent Congressional [****7] consent." Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Jones, supra, at 148. 3I
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426 U.S. 373 *; 96 S. Ct. 2102 **; 48 L. Ed. 2d 710 ***; 1976 U.S. LEXIS 61 ****
BRYAN v. ITASCA COUNTY, MINNESOTA
Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF MINNESOTA
reservation, taxation, tribe, termination, tribal, legislative history, state taxation, civil cause, confer, state court, courts, taxes, trust property, civil law, alienation, immunities
Governments, Native Americans, Authority & Jurisdiction, Property Rights, Taxation, Water Rights, General Overview, Legislation, Interpretation, Tribal Sovereign Immunity