JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
The principal question in this case is whether the United States is accountable in money damages for alleged breaches of trust in connection with its management of forest resources on allotted lands of the Quinault Indian Reservation.
In the 1850's, the United States undertook a policy of removing Indian tribes from large areas of the Pacific Northwest in order to facilitate the settlement of non-Indians.
In 1861 a reservation of about 10,000 acres was provisionally chosen for the tribes.
In 1905 the Federal Government began to allot the Quinault Reservation in trust to individual Indians under the General Allotment Act of 1887, 24 Stat. 388, as amended, 25 U. S. C. § 331 et seq.
The forest resources on the allotted lands have long been managed by the Department of the Interior, which exercises "comprehensive" control over the harvesting of Indian timber. White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136, 145 (1980). The Secretary of the Interior has broad statutory authority over the sale of timber on reservations. See 25 U. S. C. §§ 406, 407. Sales of timber "shall be based upon a consideration of the needs and best interests of the Indian owner and his heirs," § 406(a), and the proceeds from such sales are to be used for the benefit of the Indians or transferred to the Indian owner, §§ 406(a), 407. Congress has directed the Secretary to adhere to principles of sustained-yield forestry on all Indian forest lands under his supervision. 25 U. S. C. § 466. Under these statutes, the Secretary has promulgated detailed regulations governing the management of Indian timber. 25 CFR pt. 163 (1983). The Secretary is authorized to deduct an administrative fee for his services from the timber revenues paid to Indian allottees. 25 U. S. C. §§ 406(a), 413.
The respondents are 1,465 individuals owning interests in allotments on the Quinault Reservation, an unincorporated association of Quinault Reservation allottees, and the Quinault Tribe, which now holds some portions of the allotted lands. In 1971 respondents filed four actions that were consolidated in the Court of Claims. Jurisdiction was based on 28 U. S. C. §§ 1491 and 1505. Respondents sought to recover damages from the United States based on allegations of pervasive waste and mismanagement of timberlands on the Quinault Reservation. More specifically, respondents claimed that the Government (1) failed to obtain a fair market value for timber sold; (2) failed to manage timber on a sustained-yield basis; (3) failed to obtain any payment at all for some merchantable timber; (4) failed to develop a proper system of roads and easements for timber operations and exacted improper charges from allottees for maintenance of roads; (5) failed to pay any interest on certain funds from timber sales held by the Government and paid insufficient interest on other funds; and (6) exacted excessive administrative fees from allottees. Respondents assert that the alleged misconduct constitutes a breach of the fiduciary duty owed them by the United States as trustee under various statutes.
Six years after the suits were filed, the United States moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, contending that the Court of Claims had no authority over claims based on a breach of trust. The court denied the motion, holding that the General Allotment Act created a fiduciary duty on the United States' part to manage the timber resources properly and thereby provided the necessary authority for recovery of damages against the United States. Mitchell v. United States, 219 Ct. Cl. 95, 591 F.2d 1300 (1979) (en banc).
In United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535 (1980), this Court reversed the ruling of the Court of Claims, stating that the General Allotment Act "created only a limited trust relationship between the United States and the allottee that does
On remand, the Court of Claims once again held the United States subject to suit for money damages on most of respondents' claims. 229 Ct. Cl. 1, 664 F.2d 265 (1981) (en banc). The court ruled that the timber management statutes, 25 U. S. C. §§ 406, 407, and 466, various federal statutes governing roadbuilding and rights of way, §§ 318 and 323-325, statutes governing Indian funds and Government fees, §§ 162a and 413, and regulations promulgated under these statutes imposed fiduciary duties upon the United States in its management of forested allotted lands. The court concluded that the statutes and regulations implicitly required compensation for damages sustained as a result of the Government's breach of its duties. Thus, the court held that respondents could proceed on their claims.
Because the decision of the Court of Claims raises issues of substantial importance concerning the liability of the United States,
Respondents have invoked the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims under the Tucker Act, 28 U. S. C. § 1491, and its counterpart for claims brought by Indian tribes, 28 U. S. C.
It is axiomatic that the United States may not be sued without its consent and that the existence of consent is a prerequisite for jurisdiction.
Before 1855 no general statute gave the consent of the United States to suit on claims for money damages; the only recourse available to private claimants was to petition Congress for relief.
In 1886 Representative John Randolph Tucker introduced a bill to revise in several respects the jurisdiction and procedures of the Court of Claims and to replace most provisions of the 1855 and 1863 Acts. H. R. 6974, 49th Cong., 1st Sess. (1886). The House Judiciary Committee reported that the bill was a "comprehensive measure by which claims against the United States may be heard and determined." H. R. Rep. No. 1077, 49th Cong., 1st Sess., 1 (1886). The measure was designed to "give the people of the United States what
The Indian Tucker Act, 28 U. S. C. § 1505, has a similar history. An early amendment to the original enactment creating the Court of Claims had excluded claims by Indian tribes. Act of Mar. 3, 1863, § 9, 12 Stat. 767. As a result, Congress eventually confronted a "vast and growing burden" resulting from the large number of tribes seeking special jurisdictional Acts. H. R. Rep. No. 1466, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 6 (1945). Congress responded by conferring jurisdiction on the Court of Claims to hear any tribal claim "of a character which would be cognizable in the Court of Claims if the claimant were not an Indian tribe." Id., at 13. As the House sponsor of the Act stated, an important goal of the Act was to ensure that it would "never again be necessary to pass special Indian jurisdictional acts in order to permit the Indians to secure a court adjudication on any misappropriations of Indian funds or of any other Indian property by Federal officials that might occur in the future." 92 Cong. Rec. 5313 (1946) (statement of Rep. Jackson). Indians were to be given "their fair day in court so that they can call the various Government agencies to account on the obligations that the Federal government assumed." Id., at 5312.
For decades this Court consistently interpreted the Tucker Act as having provided the consent of the United States to be sued eo nomine for the classes of claims described in the Act. See, e. g., Schillinger v. United States, 155 U.S. 163, 166-167 (1894); Belknap v. Schild, 161 U.S. 10, 17 (1896); Dooley v. United States, 182 U.S. 222, 227-228 (1901); Reid v. United States, 211 U.S. 529, 538 (1909); United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 590 (1941); Dalehite v. United States, 346 U.S. 15, 25, n. 10 (1953); Soriano v. United States, 352 U.S. 270, 273 (1957). In at least two recent decisions this Court explicitly stated that the Tucker Act effects a waiver of sovereign immunity. Army & Air Force Exchange Service v. Sheehan, 456 U.S. 728, 734 (1982); Hatzlachh Supply Co. v. United States, 444 U.S. 460, 466 (1980) (per curiam). These decisions confirm the unambiguous thrust of the history of the Act.
The existence of a waiver is readily apparent in claims founded upon "any express or implied contract with the United States." 28 U. S. C. § 1491. The Court of Claims' jurisdiction over contract claims against the Government has long been recognized, and Government liability in contract is viewed as perhaps "the widest and most unequivocal waiver of federal immunity from suit." Developments in the Law — Remedies Against the United States and Its Officials, 70 Harv. L. Rev. 827, 876 (1957). See also 14 C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3656, p. 202 (1976). The source of consent for such suits unmistakably lies in the Tucker Act. Otherwise, it is doubtful that any consent would exist, for no contracting officer or other official is empowered to consent to suit against the United
In United States v. Testan, 424 U.S. 392, 398, 400 (1976), and in United States v. Mitchell, 445 U. S., at 538, this Court employed language suggesting that the Tucker Act does not effect a waiver of sovereign immunity. Such language was not necessary to the decision in either case. See infra, at 217-218. Without in any way questioning the result in either case, we conclude that this isolated language should be disregarded. If a claim falls within the terms of the Tucker Act, the United States has presumptively consented to suit.
It nonetheless remains true that the Tucker Act " `does not create any substantive right enforceable against the United States for money damages.' " United States v. Mitchell, supra, at 538, quoting United States v. Testan, supra, at 398. A substantive right must be found in some other source of law, such as "the Constitution, or any Act of Congress, or any regulation of an executive department." 28 U. S. C. § 1491. Not every claim invoking the Constitution, a federal statute, or a regulation is cognizable under the Tucker Act. The claim must be one for money damages against the United States, see United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1, 2-3 (1969),
For example, in United States v. Testan, supra, two Government attorneys contended that they were entitled to a higher salary grade under the Classification Act,
Similarly, in United States v. Mitchell, supra, this Court concluded that the General Allotment Act does not confer a right to recover money damages against the United States. While § 5 of the Act provided that the United States would hold land "in trust" for Indian allottees, 25 U. S. C. § 348, we held that the Act creates only a limited trust relationship. 445 U. S., at 542. The trust language of the Act does not
Thus, for claims against the United States "founded either upon the Constitution, or any Act of Congress, or any regulation of an executive department," 28 U. S. C. § 1491, a court must inquire whether the source of substantive law can fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation by the Federal Government for the damages sustained. In undertaking this inquiry, a court need not find a separate waiver of sovereign immunity in the substantive provision, just as a court need not find consent to suit in "any express or implied contract with the United States." Ibid. The Tucker Act itself provides the necessary consent.
Of course, in determining the general scope of the Tucker Act, this Court has not lightly inferred the United States' consent to suit. See United States v. King, supra, at 4-5 (Court of Claims lacks general authority to issue declaratory judgment); Soriano v. United States, 352 U. S., at 276 (nontolling of limitations beyond statutory provisions). For example, although the Tucker Act refers to claims founded upon any implied contract with the United States, we have held that the Act does not reach claims based on contracts implied in law, as opposed to those implied in fact. Merritt v. United States, 267 U.S. 338, 341 (1925).
In this case, however, there is simply no question that the Tucker Act provides the United States' consent to suit for claims founded upon statutes or regulations that create substantive rights to money damages. If a claim falls within this category, the existence of a waiver of sovereign immunity is clear. The question in this case is thus analytically distinct: whether the statutes or regulations at issue can be interpreted as requiring compensation. Because the Tucker Act supplies a waiver of immunity for claims of this nature, the separate statutes and regulations need not provide a
Respondents have based their money claims against the United States on various Acts of Congress and executive department regulations. We begin by describing these sources of substantive law. We then examine whether they can fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation for damages sustained as a result of a breach of the duties they impose.
The Secretary of the Interior's pervasive role in the sales of timber from Indian lands began with the Act of June 25, 1910, §§ 7, 8, 36 Stat. 857, as amended, 25 U. S. C. §§ 406, 407. Prior to that time, Indians had no right to sell timber on reservation land,
From the outset, the Interior Department recognized its obligation to supervise the cutting of Indian timber. In 1911, the Department's Office of Indian Affairs promulgated detailed regulations covering its responsibilities in "managing the Indian forests so as to obtain the greatest revenue for the Indians consistent with a proper protection and improvement of the forests." U. S. Office of Indian Affairs, Regulations and Instructions for Officers in Charge of Forests on Indian Reservations 4 (1911). The regulations addressed virtually every aspect of forest management, including the size of sales, contract procedures, advertisements and methods of billing, deposits and bonding requirements, administrative fee deductions, procedures for sales by minors, allowable heights of stumps, tree marking and scaling rules, base and top diameters of trees for cutting, and the percentage of trees to be left as a seed source. Id., at 8-28. The regulations applied to allotted as well as tribal lands, and the Secretary's approval of timber sales on allotted lands was explicitly conditioned upon compliance with the regulations. Id., at 9.
Over time, deficiencies in the Interior Department's performance of its responsibilities became apparent. Accordingly, as part of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 984, Congress imposed even stricter duties upon the Government with respect to Indian timber management. In
Regulations promulgated under the Act required the preservation of Indian forest lands in a perpetually productive state, forbade the clear-cutting of large contiguous areas, called for the development of long-term working plans for all major reservations, required adequate provision for new growth when mature timber was removed, and required the regulation of run-off and the minimization of erosion.
In 1964 Congress amended the timber provisions of the 1910 Act, again emphasizing the Secretary of the Interior's management duties. Act of Apr. 30, 1964, 78 Stat. 186. As to sales of timber on allotted lands, the Secretary was directed to consider "the needs and best interests of the Indian owner and his heirs." 25 U. S. C. § 406(a). In performing this duty, the Secretary was specifically required to take into account
See also 25 U. S. C. § 407 (timber sales on unallotted trust lands).
The timber management statutes, 25 U. S. C. §§ 406, 407, 466, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 25 CFR pt. 163 (1983), establish the "comprehensive" responsibilities of the Federal Government in managing the harvesting of Indian timber. White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U. S., at 145. The Department of the Interior — through the Bureau of Indian Affairs — "exercises literally daily supervision over the harvesting and management of tribal timber." Id., at 147.
In United States v. Mitchell, 445 U. S., at 542, this Court recognized that the General Allotment Act creates a trust relationship between the United States and Indian allottees but concluded that the trust relationship was limited. We held that the Act could not be read "as establishing that the United States has a fiduciary responsibility for management of allotted forest lands." Id., at 546. In contrast to the bare trust created by the General Allotment Act, the statutes and regulations now before us clearly give the Federal Government full responsibility to manage Indian resources and land for the benefit of the Indians. They thereby establish a fiduciary relationship and define the contours of the United States' fiduciary responsibilities.
The language of these statutory and regulatory provisions directly supports the existence of a fiduciary relationship. For example, § 8 of the 1910 Act, as amended, expressly mandates that sales of timber from Indian trust lands be based upon the Secretary's consideration of "the needs and best interests of the Indian owner and his heirs" and that proceeds from such sales be paid to owners "or disposed of for their benefit." 25 U. S. C. § 406(a). Similarly, even in its earliest regulations, the Government recognized its duties in "managing the Indian forests so as to obtain the greatest revenue for the Indians consistent with a proper protection and improvement of the forests." U. S. Office of Indian Affairs, Regulations and Instructions for Officers in Charge of Forests on Indian Reservations 4 (1911). Thus, the Government has "expressed a firm desire that the Tribe should retain the benefits derived from the harvesting and sale of reservation
Moreover, a fiduciary relationship necessarily arises when the Government assumes such elaborate control over forests and property belonging to Indians. All of the necessary elements of a common-law trust are present: a trustee (the United States), a beneficiary (the Indian allottees), and a trust corpus (Indian timber, lands, and funds).
Our construction of these statutes and regulations is reinforced by the undisputed existence of a general trust relationship between the United States and the Indian people. This Court has previously emphasized "the distinctive obligation of trust incumbent upon the Government in its dealings with these dependent and sometimes exploited people." Seminole Nation v. United States, 316 U.S. 286, 296 (1942). This principle has long dominated the Government's dealings with Indians. United States v. Mason, 412 U.S. 391, 398 (1973); Minnesota v. United States, 305 U.S. 382, 386 (1939); United States v. Shoshone Tribe, 304 U.S. 111, 117-118 (1938); United States v. Candelaria, 271 U.S. 432, 442 (1926); McKay v. Kalyton, 204 U.S. 458, 469 (1907); Minnesota v. Hitchcock, 185 U.S. 373, 396 (1902); United States v.
Because the statutes and regulations at issue in this case clearly establish fiduciary obligations of the Government in the management and operation of Indian lands and resources, they can fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation by the Federal Government for damages sustained. Given the existence of a trust relationship, it naturally follows that the Government should be liable in damages for the breach of its fiduciary duties. It is well established that a trustee is accountable in damages for breaches of trust. See Restatement (Second) of Trusts §§ 205-212 (1959); G. Bogert, Law of Trusts and Trustees § 862 (2d ed. 1965); 3 A. Scott, Law of Trusts § 205 (3d ed. 1967). This Court and several other federal courts have consistently recognized that the existence of a trust relationship between the United States and an Indian or Indian tribe includes as a fundamental incident the right of an injured beneficiary to sue the trustee for damages resulting from a breach of the trust.
The recognition of a damages remedy also furthers the purposes of the statutes and regulations, which clearly require
The Government contends that violations of duties imposed by the various statutes may be cured by actions for declaratory, injunctive, or mandamus relief against the Secretary, although it concedes that sovereign immunity might have barred such suits before 1976.
In addition, by the time Government mismanagement becomes apparent, the damage to Indian resources may be so severe that a prospective remedy may be next to worthless. For example, if timber on an allotment has been destroyed
We thus conclude that the statutes and regulations at issue here can fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation by the Federal Government for violations of its fiduciary responsibilities in the management of Indian property. The Court of Claims
The judgment of the Court of Claims is affirmed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
The controlling law in this case is clear. Speaking for the Court in United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535 (1980) (Mitchell I), JUSTICE MARSHALL reaffirmed the general
Today, the Court appears disinterested in the intent of Congress. It has effectively reversed the presumption that absent "affirmative statutory authority," United States v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 309 U.S. 506, 514 (1940), the United States has not consented to be sued for damages. It has substituted a contrary presumption, applicable to the conduct of the United States in Indian affairs,
The Court does not — and clearly cannot — contend that any of the statutes standing alone reflects the necessary legislative authorization of a damages remedy. None of the statutes contains any "provision . . . that expressly makes the United States liable" for its alleged mismanagement of Indian forest resources and their proceeds or grants a right of action "with specificity." Testan, supra, at 399, 400. Indeed, nothing in the timber-sales statutes, 25 U. S. C. §§ 406, 407,
The Court for the most part rests its decision on the implausible proposition that statutes that do not in terms create a right to payment of money nonetheless may support a damages action against the United States. This view simply cannot be reconciled with the decisions in Testan and
This Court has had occasion in recent cases to emphasize that congressional intent is the ultimate standard in determining whether a private right of action should be inferred from a statute that does not, in terms, provide for such an action.
The Court defends its departure from our precedents on the ground that the statutes and regulations upon which respondents rely need not be "construed in the manner appropriate to waivers of sovereign immunity." Ante, at 219. The Court in effect is overruling Mitchell I sub silentio, for as its discussion on the Tucker Act makes clear, see ante, at 216-219, we there at least "accepted the government's . . . claim that a strict standard of construction, applicable to deciding whether Congress had enacted a waiver of sovereign immunity, should be applied in interpreting substantive legislation for the benefit of Indian people." Hughes, Can the Trustee be Sued for its Breach? The Sad Saga of United States v. Mitchell, 26 S. D. L. Rev. 447, 473 (1981). We expressly held that the General Allotment Act at issue in Mitchell I "does not unambiguously provide that the United States has undertaken full fiduciary responsibilities." 445 U. S., at 542 (emphasis added). Cf. Army & Air Force Exchange Service v. Sheehan, 456 U. S., at 739 ("explicitly reject[ing] the argument that `the violation of any statute or regulation . . . automatically creates a cause of action against the United States for money damages' ") (quoting Testan, 424 U. S., at 401). The Court hardly can view the statutes here as "unambiguously" imposing trust duties on the Government.
The Court makes little or no pretense that it is following doctrine heretofore established. Without pertinent analysis, it simply concludes: "Because the statutes and regulations at issue in this case clearly establish fiduciary obligations of the Government in the management and operation of Indian lands and resources, they can fairly be interpreted as mandating compensation by the Federal Government for damages sustained." Ante, at 226. This conclusion rests on
The Court simply asserts that the statutes here "clearly establish fiduciary obligations." Ante, at 226. See also ante, at 225 ("a fiduciary relationship necessarily arises"). I agree with the dissent in the Court of Claims that "there is kind of a bootstrap quality of reasoning in saying that [the United States'] duties expressed by law are those of a trustee, and, therefore, we may look at SCOTT ON TRUSTS or the RESTATEMENT OF TRUSTS and impose on [the Government] all the other consequences the law, as stated by those authorities, derives from the status of an erring nongovernmental trustee." 229 Ct. Cl. 1, 31, 664 F.2d 265, 283 (1981) (Nichols, J., concurring and dissenting). "The federal power over Indian lands is so different in nature and origin from that of a private trustee . . . that caution is taught in using the mere label of a trust plus a reading of SCOTT ON TRUSTS to impose liability on claims where assent is not unequivocally expressed." Id., at 32, 664 F. 2d, at 283.
Ignoring this holding in Testan, the Court concludes that the mere existence of a trust of some kind necessarily establishes that Congress has consented to a recovery of damages. In effect we are told to accept on faith the existence of a damages cause of action: "Given the existence of a trust relationship, it naturally follows that the Government should be liable in damages for the breach of its fiduciary duties." Ante, at 226 (emphasis added). See also ibid. (damages are a "fundamental incident" of a trust relationship); ante, at 227 (it would be "anomalous" not to find a damages remedy). The
It is fair to say that the Court is influenced by its view that an injunctive remedy is inadequate to redress the violations alleged — precisely the inference deemed inadmissible in Testan.
The Court has made no effort to demonstrate that Congress intended to render the United States answerable in damages upon claims of the kind presented here. The mere application by a court of the label "trust" cannot properly justify disregard of an immunity from damages the Government has never waived. I would reverse the judgment of the Court of Claims.
"[T]here must be a constructive handling of Indian timber. We have got to stop the slaughtering of Indian timber lands, to operate them on a perpetual yield basis and the bill expressly directs that this principle of conservation shall be applied throughout." Hearings on H. R. 7902 before the House Committee on Indian Affairs, 73d Cong., 2d Sess., pt. 1, p. 35 (1934).
The Court asserts that "[a]ll of the necessary elements of a common-law trust are present" — a trustee, a beneficiary, and a trust corpus. Ante, at 225. But two persons and a parcel of real property, without more, do not create a trust. Rather, "[a] trust . . . arises as a result of a manifestation of an intention to create it." Restatement (Second) of Trusts § 2. See id., § 23 ("A trust is created only if the settlor properly manifests an intention to create a trust"); id., § 25 ("No trust is created unless the settlor manifests an intention to impose enforceable duties"). This is the element that is missing in this case, and the Court does not, and cannot, find that Congress has manifested its intent to make the statutory duties upon which respondents rely trust duties. Cf. id., § 95; 2 A. Scott, Law of Trusts § 95, p. 772 (3d ed. 1967) ("At common law it was held that a use . . . could not be enforced against the Crown . . .").
Indeed, given the language of the statute at issue in Mitchell I, the case for finding that Congress intended to impose fiduciary obligations on the United States was much stronger there than it is here. See 445 U. S., at 547 (WHITE, J., dissenting). One of the authorities cited by JUSTICE WHITE, 2 Scott, supra, § 95, specifically discusses the General Allotment Act as an example of the United States acting as a trustee. Furthermore, a trustee can "reserv[e] powers with respect to the administration of the trust." Restatement (Second) of Trusts § 37. Unless the United States agrees to be held liable in damages, even the existence of a trust does not necessarily establish that the Government has surrendered its immunity from damages.