In 1913 the United States sued to adjudicate water rights to the Truckee River for the benefit of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and the planned Newlands Reclamation Project. Thirty-one years later, in 1944, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada entered a final decree in the case pursuant to a settlement agreement. In 1973 the United States filed the present action in the same court on behalf of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, seeking additional water rights to the Truckee River. The issue thus presented is whether the Government may partially undo the 1944 decree, or whether principles of res judicata prevent it, and the intervener Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, from litigating this claim on the merits.
Nevada has, on the average, less precipitation than any other State in the Union. Except for drainage in the southeastern part of the State into the Colorado river, and drainage in the northern part of the State into the Columbia River, the rivers that flow in Nevada generally disappear into "sinks." Department of Agriculture Yearbook, Climate and Man (1941). The present litigation relates to water rights in the Truckee River, one of the three principal rivers flowing through west central Nevada. It rises in the High Sierra in Placer County, Cal., flows into and out of Lake Tahoe, and thence down the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It flows through Reno, Nev., and after a course of some 120 miles debouches into Pyramid Lake, which has no outlet.
It has been said that Pyramid Lake is "widely considered the most beautiful desert lake in North America [and that its] fishery [has] brought it worldwide fame. A species of cutthroat trout. . . grew to world record size in the desert lake and attracted anglers from throughout the world." S. Wheeler, The Desert Lake 90-92 (1967). The first recorded sighting of Pyramid Lake by non-Indians occurred in January 1844 when Captain John C. Fremont and his party camped nearby. In his journal Captain Fremont reported that the lake "broke upon our eyes like the ocean" and was "set like a gem in the mountains." 1 The Expeditions of John Charles Fremont 604-605 (D. Jackson & M. Spence eds. 1970). Commenting upon the fishery, as well as the Pyramid Lake Indians that his party was camping with, Captain Fremont wrote:
When first viewed by Captain Fremont in early 1844, Pyramid Lake was some 50 miles long and 12 miles wide. Since that time the surface area of the lake has been reduced by about 20,000 acres.
The origins of the cases before us are found in two historical events involving the Federal Government in this part of the country. First, in 1859 the Department of the Interior set aside nearly half a million acres in what is now western Nevada as a reservation for the area's Paiute Indians. In 1874 President Ulysses S. Grant by Executive Order confirmed the withdrawal as the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. The Reservation includes Pyramid Lake, the land surrounding it, the lower reaches of the Truckee River, and the bottom land alongside the lower Truckee.
Then, with the passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902, 32 Stat. 388, the Federal Government was designated to play a more prominent role in the development of the West. That Act directed the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw from public entry arid lands in specified Western States, reclaim the lands through irrigation projects, and then to restore the lands to entry pursuant to the homestead laws and certain conditions imposed by the Act itself. Accordingly, the Secretary withdrew from the public domain approximately 200,000 acres in western Nevada, which ultimately became the Newlands Reclamation Project. The Project was designed to irrigate a substantial area in the vicinity of Fallon, Nev., with waters from both the Truckee and the Carson Rivers.
The Carson River, like the Truckee, rises on the eastern slope of the High Sierra in Alpine County, Cal., and flows north and northeast over a course of about 170 miles, finally disappearing into Carson sink. The Newlands Project accomplished the diversion of water from the Truckee River to
Before the works contemplated by the Project went into operation, a number of private landowners had established rights to water in the Truckee River under Nevada law. The Government also asserted on behalf of the Indians of the Pyramid Lake Indian reservation a reserved right under the so-called "implied-reservation-of-water" doctrine set forth in Winters v. United States, 207 U.S. 564 (1908).
Not until almost 10 years later, in the midst of a prolonged drought, was interest stimulated in concluding the Orr Ditch litigation. Settlement negotiations were commenced in 1934 by the principal organizational defendants in the case, Washoe County Water Conservation District and the Sierra Pacific Power Co., and the representatives of the
On December 21, 1973, the Government instituted the action below seeking additional rights to the Truckee River for the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation; the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe was permitted to intervene in support of the United States. The Government named as defendants all persons presently claiming water rights to the Truckee River and its tributaries in Nevada. The defendants include the defendants in the Orr Ditch litigation and their successors, approximately 3,800 individual farmers that own land in the Newlands Reclamation Project, and TCID. The District Court certified the Project farmers as a class and directed TCID to represent their interests.
The defendants below asserted res judicata as an affirmative defense, saying that the United States and the Tribe were precluded by the Orr Ditch decree from litigating this claim. Following a separate trial on this issue, the District Court sustained the defense and dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
In its decision, the District Court first determined that all of the parties in this action were parties, or in privity with
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. 649 F.2d 1286 (1981), modified, 666 F.2d 351 (1982). The Court of Appeals agreed that the causes of action asserted in Orr Ditch and the instant litigation are the same and that the United States and the Tribe cannot relitigate this cause of action with the Orr Ditch defendants or subsequent appropriators of the Truckee River. But the Court of Appeals found that the Orr Ditch decree did not conclude the dispute between the Tribe and the owners of Newlands Project lands. The court said that litigants are not to be bound by a prior judgment unless they were adversaries
The Court of Appeals conceded that "[a] strict adversity requirement does not necessarily fit the realities of water adjudications." 649 F. 2d, at 1309. Nevertheless, the court found that since neither the Tribe nor the Project landowners were parties in Orr Ditch but instead were both represented by the United States, and since their interests may have conflicted in that proceeding, the court would not find that the Government had intended to bind these nonparties inter se absent a specific statement of adversity in the pleadings. We granted certiorari in the cases challenging the Court of Appeals' decision, 459 U.S. 904 (1982), and we now affirm in part and reverse in part.
The Government opens the "Summary of Argument" portion of its brief by stating: "The court of appeals has simply permitted a reallocation of the water decreed in Orr Ditch to a single party — the United States — from reclamation uses to a Reservation use with an earlier priority. The doctrine of res judicata does not bar a single party from reallocating its water in this fashion . . . ." Brief for United States 21. We are bound to say that the Government's position, if accepted, would do away with half a century of decided case law relating to the Reclamation Act of 1902 and water rights in the public domain of the West.
It is undisputed that the primary purpose of the Government in bringing the Orr Ditch suit in 1913 was to secure water rights for the irrigation of land that would be contained in the Newlands Project, and that the Government was acting under the aegis of the Reclamation Act of 1902 in bringing that action.
In California v. United States, 438 U.S. 645 (1978), we described in greater detail the history and structure of the Reclamation Act of 1902, and stated:
In two leading cases, Ickes v. Fox, 300 U.S. 82 (1937), and Nebraska v. Wyoming, 325 U.S. 589 (1945), this Court has
In Nebraska v. Wyoming, the Court stated:
The law of Nevada, in common with most other Western States, requires for the perfection of a water right for agricultural purposes that the water must be beneficially used by actual application on the land. Prosole v. Steamboat Canal Co., 37 Nev. 154, 159-161, 140 P. 720, 722 (1914). Such a right is appurtenant to the land on which it is used. Id., at 160-161, 140 P., at 722.
In the light of these cases, we conclude that the Government is completely mistaken if it believes that the water rights confirmed to it by the Orr Ditch decree in 1944 for use in irrigating lands within the Newlands Reclamation Project were like so many bushels of wheat, to be bartered, sold, or shifted about as the Government might see fit. Once these lands were acquired by settlers in the Project, the Government's "ownership" of the water rights was at most nominal; the beneficial interest in the rights confirmed to the Government resided in the owners of the land within the Project to which these water rights became appurtenant upon the application of Project water to the land. As in Ickes v. Fox and Nebraska v. Wyoming, the law of the relevant State and the contracts entered into by the landowners and the United States make this point very clear.
Both the briefs of the parties and the opinion of the Court of Appeals focus their analysis of res judicata on provisions relating to the relationship between private trustees and fiduciaries, especially those governing a breach of duty by the fiduciary to the beneficiary. While these undoubtedly provide useful analogies in cases such as these, they cannot be regarded as finally dispositive of the issues. This Court has long recognized "the distinctive obligation of trust incumbent upon the Government" in its dealings with Indian tribes, see, e. g., Seminole Nation v. United States, 316 U.S. 286, 296 (1942). These concerns have been traditionally focused on the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior. Poafpybitty v. Skelly Oil Co., 390 U.S. 365, 374 (1968). See 25 U. S. C. § 1.
Today, particularly from our vantage point nearly half a century after the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 984, 25 U. S. C. § 461 et seq., it may well appear that Congress was requiring the Secretary of the Interior to carry water on at least two shoulders when it delegated to him both the responsibility for the supervision of the Indian tribes and the commencement of reclamation projects in areas adjacent to reservation lands. But Congress chose to do this, and it is simply unrealistic to suggest that the Government may not perform its obligation to represent Indian tribes in litigation when Congress has obliged it to represent other interests as well. In this regard, the Government cannot follow the fastidious standards of a private fiduciary, who would breach his duties to his single beneficiary solely by representing potentially conflicting interests without the beneficiary's consent. The Government does not "compromise" its obligation to one interest that Congress obliges it to represent by the mere fact that it simultaneously performs another task for another interest that Congress has obligated it by statute to do.
With these observations in mind, we turn to the principles of res judicata that we think are involved in this case.
Recent cases in which we have discussed principles of estoppel by judgment include Federated Department Stores,
Simply put, the doctrine of res judicata provides that when a final judgment has been entered on the merits of a case, "[i]t is a finality as to the claim or demand in controversy,
To determine the applicability of res judicata to the facts before us, we must decide first if the "cause of action" which the Government now seeks to assert is the "same cause of action" that was asserted in Orr Ditch; we must then decide whether the parties in the instant proceeding are identical to or in privity with the parties in Orr Ditch. We address these questions in turn.
Definitions of what constitutes the "same cause of action" have not remained static over time. Compare Restatement of Judgments § 61 (1942) with Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 24 (1982).
In its amended complaint in Orr Ditch, the Government averred:
The final decree in Orr Ditch clearly shows that the parties to the settlement agreement and the District Court intended to accomplish this purpose. The decree provided in part:
We need not, however, stop here. For evidence more directly showing the Government's intention to assert in Orr Ditch the Reservation's full water rights, we return to the amended complaint, where it was alleged:
This cannot be construed as anything less than a claim for the full "implied-reservation-of-water" rights that were due the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation.
This conclusion is fortified by comparing the Orr Ditch complaint with the complaint filed in the proceedings below where, for example, the Government alleged:
While the Government focuses more specifically on the Tribe's reliance on fishing in this later complaint, it seems quite clear to us that they are asserting the same reserved right for purposes of "fishing" and maintenance of "lands and waters" that was asserted in Orr Ditch.
Having decided that the cause of action asserted below is the same cause of action asserted in the Orr Ditch litigation,
There is no doubt but that the United States was a party to the Orr Ditch proceeding, acting as a representative for the Reservation's interests and the interests of the Newlands Project, and cannot relitigate the Reservation's "implied-reservation-of-water" rights with those who can use the Orr Ditch decree as a defense. See United States v. Title Insurance & Trust Co., 265 U.S. 472, 482-486 (1924). We also hold that the Tribe, whose interests were represented in Orr Ditch by the United States, can be bound by the Orr Ditch decree.
The Court of Appeals reached a different conclusion concerning TCID and the Project farmers that it now represents. The Court of Appeals conceded that the Project's interests,
At the commencement of the Orr Ditch litigation, the United States sought water rights both for the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and for the irrigation of lands in the Newlands Project. It was obviously not "adverse" to itself in seeking these two separate allocations of water rights, and even if we were to treat the Paiute Tribe and the beneficial
We agree with these observations of the Court of Appeals. That court felt, however, that these factors did not control these cases because the "Tribe and the Project were neither parties nor co-parties, however. They were non-parties who were represented simultaneously by the same government attorneys." Ibid. We disagree with the Court of Appeals as to the consequence of this fact.
It has been held that the successors in interest of parties who are not adversaries in a stream adjudication nevertheless are bound by a decree establishing priority of rights in the stream. See, e. g., Morgan v. Udy, 58 Idaho 670, 79 P.2d 295 (1938). In that case the Idaho court said:
This rule seems to be generally applied in stream adjudications in the Western States, where these actions play a critical role in determining the allocation of scarce water rights, and where each water rights claim by its "very nature raise[s] issues inter se as to all such parties for the determination of one claim necessarily affects the amount available for the other claims. Marlett v. Prosser, 1919, 66 Colo. 91, 179 P. 141, 142." City of Pasadena v. City of Alhambra, 180 P.2d 699, 715 (Cal. App. 1947). See Pacific Live Stock Co. v. Ellison Ranching Co., 52 Nev. 279, 296-297, 286 P. 120, 123 (1930); In re Chewaucan River, 89 Or. 659, 666, 171 P. 402, 403-404 (1918). See also 6 Waters and Water Rights § 513.2, p. 304 (R. Clark ed. 1972 and Supp. 1978).
In these cases, as we have noted, the Government as a single entity brought the action seeking a determination both of the Tribe's reserved rights and of the water rights necessary for the irrigation of land within the Newlands Project. But it separately pleaded the interests of both the Project and the Reservation. During the settlement negotiations the interests of the Project, and presumably of the landowners to whom the water rights actually accrued, were represented by the newly formed TCID and the interests of the Reservation were represented by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The settlement agreement was signed by the Government and by TCID. It would seem that at this stage of the litigation the interests of the Tribe and TCID were sufficiently adverse for the latter to oppose the Bureau's claim for additional water rights for the Reservation during the settlement negotiations.
The Court of Appeals held, however, that "in representative litigation we should be especially careful not to infer adversity
The Court of Appeals went on to conclude: "By representing the Tribe and the Project against the Orr Ditch defendants, the government compromised its duty of undivided loyalty to the Tribe. See Restatement (Second) of Trusts, supra, § 170, & Comments p, q, r." Id., at 1310. This section of the Restatement (Second) of Trusts (1959) is entitled "Duty of Loyalty," and states that "(1) the trustee is under a duty to the beneficiary to administer the trust solely in the interest of the beneficiary." Comments p, q, and r deal respectively with "[c]ompetition with the beneficiary," "[a]ction in the interest of a third person," and "[d]uty of trustee under separate trusts."
As we previously intimated, we think the Court of Appeals' reasoning here runs aground because the Government is simply not in the position of a private litigant or a private party under traditional rules of common law or statute. Our cases make this plain in numerous areas of the law. See United States v. ICC, 337 U.S. 426, 431-432 (1949); Utah Power & Light Co. v. United States, 243 U.S. 389, 409 (1917). In the latter case, the Court said:
These cases, we believe, point the way to the correct resolution of the instant cases. The United States undoubtedly owes a strong fiduciary duty to its Indian wards. See Seminole Nation v. United States, 316 U. S., at 296-297; Shoshone Tribe v. United States, 299 U.S. 476, 497-498 (1937). It may be that where only a relationship between the Government and the tribe is involved, the law respecting obligations between a trustee and a beneficiary in private litigation will in many, if not all, respects adequately describe the duty of the United States. But where Congress has imposed upon the United States, in addition to its duty to represent Indian tribes, a duty to obtain water rights for reclamation projects, and has even authorized the inclusion of reservation lands within a project, the analogy of a faithless private fiduciary cannot be controlling for purposes of evaluating the authority of the United States to represent different interests.
At least by 1926, when TCID came into being, and very likely long before, when conveyances of the public domain to settlers within the Reclamation Project necessarily carried with them the beneficial right to appropriate water reserved to the Government for this purpose, third parties entered
We turn finally to those defendants below who appropriated water from the Truckee subsequent to the Orr Ditch decree. These defendants, we believe, give rise to a difficult question, but in the final analysis we agree with the Court of Appeals that they too can use the Orr Ditch decree against the plaintiffs below. While mutuality has been for the most part abandoned in cases involving collateral estoppel, see Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322 (1979); Blonder-Tongue Laboratories, Inc. v. University of Illinois Foundation, 402 U.S. 313 (1971), it has remained a part of the doctrine of res judicata. Nevertheless, exceptions to the res judicata mutuality requirement have been found necessary, see 18 C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 4464, pp. 586-588 (1981 and Supp. 1982), and we believe that such an exception is required in these cases.
Orr Ditch was an equitable action to quiet title, an in personam action. But as the Court of Appeals determined, it "was no garden variety quiet title action." 649 F. 2d, at 1308. As we have already explained, everyone involved in Orr Ditch contemplated a comprehensive adjudication of water rights intended to settle once and for all the question of how much of the Truckee River each of the litigants was entitled to. Thus, even though quiet title actions are in
In conclusion we affirm the Court of Appeals' finding that the cause of action asserted below and the cause of action asserted in Orr Ditch are one and the same. We also affirm the Court of Appeals' finding that the Orr Ditch decree concluded the controversy on this cause of action between, on the one hand, the Orr Ditch defendants, their successors in interest, and subsequent appropriators of the Truckee River, and, on the other hand, the United States and the Tribe. We reverse the Court of Appeals, however, with respect to its finding concerning TCID, and the Project farmers it represents, and hold instead that the Orr Ditch decree also ended the dispute raised between these parties and the plaintiffs below.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE BRENNAN, concurring.
The mere existence of a formal "conflict of interest" does not deprive the United States of authority to represent Indians in litigation, and therefore to bind them as well. If, however, the United States actually causes harm through a breach of its trust obligations the Indians should have a remedy against it. I join the Court's opinion on the understanding that it reaffirms that the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has a remedy against the United States for the breach of duty that the United States has admitted. See ante, at 144, n. 16.
In the final analysis, our decision today is that thousands of small farmers in northwestern Nevada can rely on specific promises made to their forebears two and three generations ago, and solemnized in a judicial decree, despite strong claims on the part of the Pyramid Lake Paiutes. The availability of water determines the character of life and culture in this region. Here, as elsewhere in the West, it is insufficient to satisfy all claims. In the face of such fundamental natural limitations, the rule of law cannot avert large measures of loss, destruction, and profound disappointment, no matter
"IN PURSUANCE of the provisions of the act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat., 388), and acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto, especially the act of August 9, 1912 (37 Stat., 265), and the act of August 13, 1914 (38 Stat., 686), all herein styled the reclamation law, and the rules and regulations established under said law, and the terms of that certain Contract between the United States of America and the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, dated Dec. 18th, 1926, and subject to the conditions named in this instrument, application is hereby made to the TRUCKEE-CARSON IRRIGATION DISTRICT, herein styled District, by the UNDERSIGNED, herein styled Applicant, for a permanent water right for the irrigation of and to be appurtenant to all of the irritable area now or hereafter developed under the above-named project within the tract of land described in paragraph 2." 4 Record, Doc. No. 92, Exhibit C (emphasis added).
"Where questions arise which affect titles to land it is of great importance to the public that when they are once decided they should no longer be considered open. Such decisions become rules of property, and many titles may be injuriously affected by their change . . . . [W]here courts vacillate and overrule their own decisions . . . affecting the title to real property, their decisions are retrospective and may affect titles purchased on the faith of their stability. Doubtful questions on subjects of this nature, when once decided, should be considered no longer doubtful or subject to change." Id., at 334.
A quiet title action for the adjudication of water rights, such as the Orr Ditch suit, is distinctively equipped to serve these policies because "it enables the court of equity to acquire jurisdiction of all the rights involved and also of all the owners of those rights, and thus settle and permanently adjudicate in a single proceeding all the rights, or claims to rights, of all the claimants to the water taken from a common source of supply." 3 C. Kinney, Law of Irrigation and Water Rights § 1535, p. 2764 (2d ed. 1912).
The Tribe argues that the first Restatement of Judgments standard should control because it was the prevailing standard at the time of Orr Ditch. While we find that the result would be the same under either version of the Restatement of Judgments, we nevertheless point out that the Tribe is somewhat mistaken in this argument. Although the "same evidence" standard was "[o]ne of the tests" used at the time, The Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118, 125 (1894), it was not the only one. For example, in Baltimore S.S. Co. v. Phillips, 274 U.S. 316 (1927), the Court concluded:
"A cause of action does not consist of facts, but of the unlawful violation of a right which the facts show. The number and variety of the facts alleged do not establish more than one cause of action so long as their result, whether they be considered severally or in combination, is the violation of but one right by a single legal wrong. . . . `The facts are merely the means, and not the end. They do not constitute the cause of action, but they show its existence by making the wrong appear. "The thing, therefore, which in contemplation of law as its cause, becomes a ground for action, is not the group of facts alleged in the declaration, bill, or indictment, but the result of these in a legal wrong, the existence of which, if true, they conclusively evince." ' Chobanian v. Washburn Wire Company, 33 R.I. 289, 302." Id., at 321.
We have already said that the Government stands in a different position than a private fiduciary where Congress has decreed that the Government must represent more than one interest. When the Government performs such duties it does not by that reason alone compromise its obligation to any of the interests involved.
The Justice Department's involvement in Orr Ditch began with a letter from the Secretary of the Interior to the Attorney General requesting that a single suit be brought by the Government for a determination "of all water rights in Lake Tahoe and Truckee River above the intake of the Truckee-Carson Reclamation project." App. 263. A Special Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the matter was apparently the first to recognize that the Government should in the same suit seek to establish the water rights to the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. In a memorandum where the Special Assistant explained the reserved-water-rights holding of Winters, he advanced the view that "[t]hese Indian reservation water rights are important and should be established to the fullest extent because they are senior and superior to most if not all the other rights on the river." App. 269-270.
Contemporaneously with this report, the Acting Director of the Reclamation Service notified the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that an assertion of the Reservation's rights should be included in Orr Ditch. The claim was advanced accordingly and thereafter the Bureau of Indian Affairs was kept aware of the Orr Ditch proceedings; during the settlement negotiations the BIA directly participated. The BIA is the agency of the Federal Government "charged with fulfilling the trust obligations of the United States" to Indians, Poafpybitty v. Skelly Oil Co., 390 U.S. 365, 374 (1968), and there is nothing in the record of this case to indicate that any official outside of the BIA attempted to influence the BIA's decisions in a manner inconsistent with these obligations.
The record suggests that the BIA alone may have made the decision not to press claims for a fishery water right, for reasons which hindsight may render questionable, but which did not involve other interests represented by the Government. For instance, in a 1926 letter to a federal official on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs explained:
"We feel that the Indians would be wise to assume that Truckee River water will be used practically as far as it can be for irrigation, and that the thing for the Indians to do is, if possible, instead of trying to stop such development to direct it so that it will inure to their benefit.
". . . [I]f their ultimate welfare depends in part on their being able to hold their own in a civilized world . . . they should look forward to a different means of livelihood, in part at least, from their ancestral one, of fishing and hunting. They should expect not only to farm their allotments but also to do other sorts of work and have other ways of making a living." App. 435-436.
Furthermore, the District Court found that during the pendency of the Orr Ditch proceedings "a serious and reasonable doubt existed as to whether any Winters reserved water right could be claimed at all for an executive order Indian reservation." Nevada App. 185a.
In pressing for a different conclusion, the Tribe relies primarily on a finding by the District Court that it was the intention of the Government in Orr Ditch "to assert as large a water right as possible for the Indian reservation, and to do everything possible to protect the fish for the benefit of the Indians and the white population insofar as it was `consistent with the larger interests involved in the propositions having to do with the reclamation of thousands of acres of arid and now useless land for the benefit of the country as a whole.' " Nevada App. 185a. The Tribe's focus on this ambiguous finding, however, has not blinded us to the District Court's specific finding on the alleged conflict.
"[T]here was a foreseeable conflict of purposes created by the Congress within the Interior Department and as between the Bureau of Reclamation on the one hand in asserting large water rights for its reclamation projects and the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the other in the performance of its obligations to protect the rights and interests of the Indians on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation. [T]his conflict of purposes was apparent prior to and during the Orr Ditch proceedings and was resolved within the executive department of government by top-level executive officers acting within the scope of their Congressionally-delegated duties and authority and were political and policy decisions of those officials charged with that responsibility, which decisions resulted in the extinguishment of the alleged fishery purposes water right. . . . The government lawyers in Orr Ditch, both departmental, agency and bureaus, as well as those charged with the responsibility for the actual conduct of the litigation, are not chargeable with an impermissible conflict of purpose or interest in carrying out the decisions and directions of their superiors in the executive department of government. . . ." Id., at 189a-190a.
The District Court's finding reflects the nature of a democratic government that is charged with more than one responsibility; it does not describe conduct that would deprive the United States of the authority to conduct litigation on behalf of diverse interests.
Finally, TCID challenges the Court of Appeals' conclusion that the Secretary of the Interior is not authorized to negotiate and execute an out-of-court settlement of disputed Indian water rights, and therefore that the Orr Ditch settlement agreement did not provide an independent bar to the Tribe's attempt to relitigate the Orr Ditch cause of action. Brief for Petitioner in No. 81-2276, pp. 42-48. Because of our disposition of the cases, we need not address this issue.