United States v. Clarke
445 U.S. 253 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Clarke, 445 U.S. 253 (1980)

United States v. Clarke

No. 78-1693

Argued January 15, 16, 1980

Decided March 18, 1980

445 U.S. 253

Syllabus

Held: Title 25 U.S.C. § 357, which provides that lands allotted in severalty to Indians may be "condemned" for any public purpose under the laws of the State or Territory where located, does not authorize a state or local government to "condemn" allotted Indian trust lands by physical occupation. Under the "plain meaning" canon of statutory construction, the term "condemned" in § 357 refers to a formal condemnation proceeding instituted by the condemning authority for the purpose of acquiring title to private property and paying just compensation for it, not to an "inverse condemnation" action by a landowner to recover compensation for a taking by physical intrusion. Thus, the Court of Appeals erred in holding that § 357 permitted acquisition of allotted lands by inverse condemnation by certain cities in Alaska, even though Alaska law might allow the exercise of the power of eminent domain through inverse condemnation. Pp. 445 U. S. 254-259.

590 F.2d 765, reversed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, STEWART, MARSHALL, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which WHITE, J., joined, post, p. 445 U. S. 259.

Page 445 U. S. 254

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