SNOHOMISH COUNTY v. SEATTLE DISPOSAL COMPANYAnnotate this Case
389 U.S. 1016 (1967)
U.S. Supreme Court
SNOHOMISH COUNTY v. SEATTLE DISPOSAL COMPANY , 389 U.S. 1016 (1967)
389 U.S. 1016
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, petitioner,
SEATTLE DISPOSAL COMPANY et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
December 18, 1967
Rehearing Denied Jan. 29, 1968.
See 390 U.S. 930.
John Wilson, for petitioner.
Orville H. Mills, for respondents.
Solicitor General Griswold, for the United States.
Petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Dissenting opinion by Mr. Justice DOUGLAS with whom Mr. Justice WHITE concurs:
The Supreme Court of Washington held in a 6-3 decision that the State lacks power to apply a local zoning ordinance for control of garbage dumps and sewage landfills to respondent, Disposal Company, a non-Indian lessee of two parcels of lands within the Tulalip Tribes Reservation. [ Snohomish County v. Seattle Disposal Company 389 U.S. 1016 (1967) ][1016-Continued]
One section of the Act relevant to our problem-now codified as 28 U.S. C. 1360-gave civil jurisdiction over Indians and Indian lands to California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin1 with the following proviso:
Nothing in this section shall authorize the alienation, encumbrance, or taxation of any real or personal property ... belonging to any Indian or any Indian tribe ... that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States; or shall authorize regulation of the use of such property in a manner inconsistent with any Federal treaty, agreement, or statute ....'
The federal question arises in the following manner. By Public Law 280, c. 505, 7, 67 Stat. 590, Congress
gave consent 'to any other State not having jurisdiction with respect to criminal and civil offenses or civil causes of action [involving Indians and Indian lands], or with respect to both, as provided for in this Act,2 to assume jurisdiction ... by affirmative legislative action ....' ( Italics added.)
Pursuant to Public Law 280, the State of Washington undertook to assume jurisdiction over Indians and their lands upon their consent. In the state enactment, jurisdiction was limited by Wash.Rev.Code 37.12.060, which incorporated verbatim the restrictions quoted above that are found in 28 U.S.C. 1360.
In the case before us the Washington Supreme Court held that the Tulalip Tribes' lands in issue were either held in trust or subject to a restraint against alienation imposed by 25 U.S.C. 403a and 403a-2, which limit the length of leases made by the Tulalip Tribes and require approval of the Secretary of the Interior of leasing practices. [Footnote 3] The majority then held that under both 28 U.S.C. 1360 and the state statute incorporating language from 1360, zoning regulations were 'encumbrances' on Indian lands because they limit the use thereof. One Washington state court decision, our decision in Squire v. Capoeman, 351 U.S. 1, and opinions of the Department of Interior were relied on by the majority in formulating this definition of 'encumbrance.' [389 U.S. 1016 , 1018]