In the latest chapter of this long-litigated originaljurisdiction case, the Quechan Tribe (Tribe) and the United States on the Tribe's behalf assert claims for increased rights to water from the Colorado River. These claims are based on the contention that the Fort Yuma (Quechan) Indian Reservation encompasses some 25,000 acres of disputed boundary lands not attributed to that reservation in earlier stages of the litigation. In this decision, we resolve a threshold question regarding these claims to additional water rights: Are the claims precluded by this Court's prior decision in Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546 (1963) (Arizona I), or by a consent judgment entered by the United States Claims Court in 1983? The Special Master has prepared a report recommending that the Court reject the first ground for preclusion but accept the second. We reject both grounds for preclusion and remand the case to the Special Master for consideration of the claims for additional water rights appurtenant to the disputed boundary lands.
This litigation began in 1952 when Arizona invoked our original jurisdiction to settle a dispute with California over the extent of each State's right to use water from the Colorado River system. Nevada intervened, seeking a determination of its water rights, and Utah and New Mexico were joined as defendants. The United States intervened and sought water rights on behalf of various federal establishments, including five Indian reservations: the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation, the Cocopah Indian Reservation, the Fort Yuma (Quechan) Indian Reservation, the Colorado River Indian Reservation, and the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. The Court appointed Simon Rifkind as Special Master.
The first round of the litigation culminated in our opinion in Arizona I. We agreed with Special Master Rifkind that
In 1978, the United States and the State parties jointly moved this Court to enter a supplemental decree identifying present perfected rights to the use of mainstream water in each State and their priority dates. The Tribes then filed motions to intervene, and the United States ultimately joined the Tribes in moving for additional water rights for the five reservations. Again, the Court deferred resolution of reservation boundary disputes and allied water rights claims. The supplemental decree we entered in 1979 set out the water rights and priority dates for the five reservations
Master Tuttle issued a report recommending that the Tribes be permitted to intervene, and concluding that various administrative actions taken by the Secretary of the Interior constituted "final determinations" of reservation boundaries for purposes of allocating water rights under the 1964 decree. (Those administrative actions included a 1978 Secretarial Order, discussed in greater detail infra, at 404405, which recognized the Quechan Tribe's entitlement to the disputed boundary lands of the Fort Yuma Reservation.) Master Tuttle also concluded that certain lands within the undisputed reservation boundaries but for which the United States had not sought water rights in Arizona I —the socalled "omitted lands"—had in fact been practicably irrigable at the time of Arizona I and were thus entitled to water. On these grounds, Master Tuttle recommended that the Court reopen the 1964 decree to award the Tribes additional water rights.
In Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605 (1983) (Arizona II), the Court permitted the Tribes to intervene, but otherwise rejected Master Tuttle's recommendations. The Secretary's determinations did not qualify as "final determinations" of reservation boundaries, we ruled, because the States, agencies, and private water users had not had an opportunity to obtain judicial review of those determinations. Id., at 636-637. In that regard, we noted that California state agencies had initiated an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California challenging
The District Court litigation proceeded with the participation of eight parties: the United States, the States of Arizona and California, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Coachella Valley Water District, and the Quechan, Fort Mojave, and Colorado River Indian Tribes. The District Court rejected the United States' sovereign immunity defense; taking up the Fort Mojave Reservation matter first, the court voided the Secretary's determination of that reservation's boundaries. Metropolitan Water Dist. of S. Cal. v. United States, 628 F.Supp. 1018 (SD Cal. 1986). The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, however, accepted the United States' plea of sovereign immunity, and on that ground reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the entire case. Specifically, the Court of Appeals held that the Quiet Title Act, 28 U. S. C. § 2409a, preserved the United States' sovereign immunity from suits challenging the United States' title "to trust or restricted Indian lands," § 2409a(a), and therefore blocked recourse to the District
The dismissal of the District Court action dispelled any expectation that a "final determination" of reservation boundaries would occur in that forum. The State parties then moved to reopen the 1964 decree, asking the Court to determine whether the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation and two other reservations were entitled to claim additional boundary lands and, if so, additional water rights. Neither the United States nor the Tribes objected to the reopening of the decree, and the Court granted the motion. Arizona v. California, 493 U.S. 886 (1989). After the death in 1990 of the third Special Master, Robert McKay, the Court appointed Frank J. McGarr as Special Master. Special Master McGarr has now filed a report and recommendation (McGarr Report), a full understanding of which requires a discussion of issues and events specific to the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. We now turn to those issues and events.
The specific dispute before us has its roots in an 1884 Executive Order signed by President Chester A. Arthur, designating approximately 72 square miles of land along the Colorado River in California as the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation (Reservation) for the benefit of the Quechan Tribe. The Tribe, which had traditionally engaged in farming, offered to cede its rights to a portion of the Reservation to the United States in exchange for allotments of irrigated land to individual Indians. In 1893, the Secretary of the Interior concluded an agreement with the Tribe (1893 Agreement), which Congress ratified in 1894. The 1893 Agreement provided for the Tribe's cession of a 25,000-acre tract of boundary lands on the Reservation. Language in the agreement,
Doubts about the validity and effect of the 1893 Agreement arose as early as 1935. In that year the construction of the All-American Canal, which prompted the interstate dispute in Arizona I, see 373 U. S., at 554-555, also sparked a controversy concerning the Fort Yuma Reservation. When the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation sought to route the canal through the Reservation, the Department's Indian Office argued that the Bureau had to pay compensation to the Tribe for the right-of-way. The Secretary of the Interior submitted the matter to the Department's Solicitor, Nathan Margold. In 1936, Solicitor Margold issued an opinion (Margold Opinion) stating that, under the 1893 Agreement, the Tribe had unconditionally ceded the lands in question to the United States. 1 Dept. of Interior, Opinions of the Solicitor Relating to Indian Affairs 596, 600 (No. M-28198, Jan. 8, 1936). The Margold Opinion remained the position of the Federal Government for 42 years.
In 1946, Congress enacted the Indian Claims Commission Act, 60 Stat. 1049, 25 U. S. C. § 70 et seq. (1976 ed.), establishing an Article I tribunal with power to decide claims of Indian tribes against the United States.
The Commission conducted a trial on liability, but stayed further proceedings in 1970 because legislation had been proposed in Congress that would have restored the disputed lands to the Tribe. The legislation was not enacted, and the Commission vacated the stay. In 1976, the Commission transferred the matter to the Court of Claims.
In the meantime, the Tribe had asked the Department of the Interior to reconsider its 1936 Margold Opinion regarding the 1893 Agreement. In 1977, Interior Solicitor Scott Austin concluded, in accord with the 1936 opinion, that the 1893 Agreement was valid and that the cession of the disputed lands had been unconditional. Opinion of the Solicitor, No. M-36886 (Jan. 18, 1977), 84 I. D. 1 (1977) (Austin Opinion). It soon became clear both to the Tribe and to interested Members of Congress, however, that the Austin Opinion had provoked controversy within the Department, and, after the election of President Carter, the Department revisited the issue and reversed course. In 1978, without notice to the parties, Solicitor Leo Krulitz issued an opinion concluding that the 1893 Agreement had provided for a conditional cession of the disputed lands, that the conditions had not been met by the United States, and that "[t]itle to the subject property is held by the United States in trust for the Quechan Tribe." Opinion of the Solicitor, No. M-36908 (Jan. 2, 1979), 86 I. D. 3, 22 (1979) (Krulitz Opinion). On December 20, 1978, the Secretary of the Interior issued a Secretarial Order adopting the Krulitz Opinion and confirming the Tribe's entitlement to the disputed lands, with the express
The 1978 Secretarial Order caused the United States to change its position both in Docket No. 320, which was still pending in the Claims Court, and in the present litigation. Because the Secretarial Order amounted to an admission that the 1893 Agreement had been ineffective to transfer title and that the Tribe enjoyed beneficial ownership of the disputed boundary lands, the United States no longer opposed the Tribe's claim for trespass in Docket No. 320. In the present litigation, the Secretarial Order both prompted the United States to file a water rights claim for the affected boundary lands and provided the basis for the Tribe's intervention to assert a similar, albeit larger, water rights claim. See Arizona II, 460 U. S., at 632-633. Those water rights claims are the subject of the current proceedings.
In August 1983, a few months after this Court decided in Arizona II that the 1978 Secretarial Order did not constitute a final determination of reservation boundaries, see supra, at 399-400, the United States and the Tribe entered into a settlement of Docket No. 320, which the Court of Claims approved and entered as its final judgment. Under the terms of that settlement, the United States agreed to pay the Tribe $15 million in full satisfaction of "all rights, claims, or demands which plaintiff [i. e., the Tribe] has asserted or could have asserted with respect to the claims in Docket 320." Final Judgment, Docket No. 320 (Aug. 11, 1983). The judgment further provided that "plaintiff shall be barred thereby from asserting any further rights, claims, or demands against the defendant and any future action on the claims encompassed on Docket 320." Ibid. The United States and the Tribe also stipulated that the "final judgment is based on a compromise and settlement and shall not be construed as an admission by either party for the purposes of precedent or argument in any other case." Ibid. Both
Master McGarr has issued a series of orders culminating in the report and recommendation now before the Court. He has recommended that the Court reject the claims of the United States and the Tribe seeking additional water rights for the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. The Master rejected the State parties' contention that this Court's Arizona I decision precludes the United States and the Tribe from seeking water rights for the disputed boundary lands. He concluded, however, that the United States and the Tribe are precluded from pursuing those claims by operation of the 1983 Claims Court consent judgment. The State parties have filed an exception to the first of these preclusion recommendations, and the United States and the Tribe have filed exceptions to the second. In Part III—A, infra, we consider the exception filed by the State parties, and in Part III—B we address the exceptions filed by the United States and the Tribe. The Special Master has also recommended that the Court approve the parties' proposed settlements respecting the Fort Mojave and Colorado River Indian Reservations. No party has filed an exception to those recommendations; we address them in Part III—C, infra.
The States of Arizona and California, the Coachella Valley Water District, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (State parties) argued before Special Master McGarr, and repeat before this Court, that the water rights claims associated with the disputed boundary lands of the Fort Yuma Reservation are precluded by the finality rationale this Court employed in dismissing the "omitted lands" claims in Arizona II. See supra, at 399-400. According to the State parties, the United States could have
The Special Master rejected the State parties' preclusion argument. He brought out first the evident reason why the United States did not assert water rights claims for the Fort Yuma Reservation boundary lands in Arizona I. At that point in time, the United States was bound to follow the 1936 Margold Opinion, see supra, at 402, which maintained that the Tribe had no claim to those lands. "[I]t is clear," the Master stated, "that the later Secretary of the Interior opinion arbitrarily changing [the Margold] decision was a circumstance not known in 1964, thus constituting an exception to the application of the rule of res adjudicata. " Special Master McGarr Memorandum Opinion and Order No. 4, pp. 6-7 (Sept. 6, 1991). Characterizing the question as "close," the Master went on to conclude that "the Tribe is not precluded from asserting water rights based on boundary land claims on [sic] this proceeding, because although the U. S. on behalf of the Tribe failed to assert such claims in the proceeding leading to the 1964 decree, a later and then unknown circumstance
While the Special Master correctly recognized the relevance of the Margold Opinion to the litigating stance of the United States, he ultimately relied on an improper ground in rejecting the State parties' preclusion argument. The Department of the Interior's 1978 Secretarial Order recognizing the Tribe's beneficial ownership of the boundary lands, see supra, at 404-405, does not qualify as a "later and then unknown circumstance" that can overcome otherwise applicable preclusion principles. The 1978 Order did not change the underlying facts in dispute; it simply embodied one party's changed view of the import of unchanged facts. Moreover, the Tribe can hardly claim to have been surprised by the Government's shift in assessment of the boundary lands ownership question, for the Tribe had been advocating just such a shift for decades.
The United States and the Tribe, however, urge other grounds on which to reject the State parties' argument regarding the preclusive effect of Arizona I. The United States and the Tribe maintain that the preclusion rationale the Court applied to the "omitted lands" in Arizona II is not equally applicable to the disputed boundary lands,
The State parties assert that our prior pronouncements in this case have expressly recognized the possibility that future boundary lands claims for the Fort Yuma Reservation might be precluded. If anything, the contrary is true. Nothing in the Arizona II decision hints that the Court believed the boundary lands issue might ultimately be held precluded. Rather, the Court expressly found it "necessary to decide whether any or all of these boundary disputes have been `finally determined' within the meaning of Article
The Court did note in Arizona II that in the District Court proceedings the United States had asserted defenses based on "lack of standing, the absence of indispensable parties, sovereign immunity, and the applicable statute of limitations," and added that "[t]here will be time enough, if any of these grounds for dismissal are sustained and not overturned on appellate review, to determine whether the boundary issues foreclosed by such [lower court] action are nevertheless open for litigation in this Court." 460 U. S., at 638 (emphasis added). This passage, however, is most sensibly read to convey that the defenses just mentioned—standing, indispensable parties, sovereign immunity, and the statute of limitations—would not necessarily affect renewed litigation in this Court. The passage contains no acknowledgment, express or implied, of a lurking preclusion issue stemming from our Arizona I disposition.
Moreover, and of large significance, the 1979 and 1984 supplemental decrees anticipated that the disputed boundary issues for all five reservations, including the Fort Yuma Reservation, would be "finally determined" in some forum, not by preclusion but on the merits. See 1984 Supplemental Decree, Art. II(D)(5), Arizona v. California, 466 U. S., at 145 (Water rights for all five reservations "shall be subject to appropriate adjustments by agreement or decree of this Court in the event that the boundaries of the respective reservations are finally determined."); 1979 Supplemental Decree, Art. II(D)(5), Arizona v. California, 439 U. S., at 421 (same).
The State parties themselves stipulated to the terms of the supplemental decree we entered in 1979. They also appear to have litigated the Arizona II proceedings on the understanding
Finally, the State parties argue that even if they earlier failed to raise the preclusion defense, this Court should raise it now sua sponte. Judicial initiative of this sort might be appropriate in special circumstances. Most notably, "if a court is on notice that it has previously decided the issue presented, the court may dismiss the action sua sponte, even though the defense has not been raised. This result is fully consistent with the policies underlying res judicata: it is not based solely on the defendant's interest in avoiding the burdens of twice defending a suit, but is also based on the avoidance of unnecessary judicial waste." United States v. Sioux Nation, 448 U.S. 371, 432 (1980) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting) (citations omitted). That special circumstance is not present here: While the State parties contend that the Fort Yuma boundary dispute could have been decided in Arizona I, this Court plainly has not "previously decided the issue presented." Therefore we do not face the prospect of redoing a matter once decided. Where no judicial resources have been spent on the resolution of a question, trial courts must
In view of the State parties' failure to raise the preclusion argument earlier in the litigation, despite ample opportunity and cause to do so, we hold that the claims of the United States and the Tribe to increased water rights for the disputed boundary lands of the Fort Yuma Reservation are not foreclosed by our decision in Arizona I.
The State parties also assert that the instant water rights claims are precluded by the 1983 consent judgment in the Claims Court proceeding, Docket No. 320. Special Master McGarr agreed, noting the consent judgment's declaration that the Tribe would "be barred thereby from asserting any further rights, claims or demands against the defendant and any future action encompassed on docket no. 320." See Special Master McGarr Memorandum Opinion and Order No. 4, at 9-10. On reconsideration, the Special Master provided a fuller account of his recommendation. The settlement, he concluded, had extinguished the Tribe's claim to title in the disputed boundary lands, vesting that title in the United States against all the world: "The only viable basis for a damage or trespass claim [in Docket No. 320] was that the 1893 taking was illegal and that title therefore remained with the Tribe. When the Tribe accepted money in settlement of this claim, it relinquished its claim to title." Id., No. 7, at 5 (May 5, 1992). See also id., No. 13, at 3 (Apr. 13, 1993) ("[T]he relinquishment of all future claims regarding the subject matter of Docket No. 320 in exchange for a sum of money extinguished the Tribe's title in the subject lands . . . ."). Because the settlement extinguished the Tribe's title to the disputed boundary lands, the Master reasoned, the United States and the Tribe cannot now seek additional
Under standard preclusion doctrine, the Master's recommendation cannot be sustained. As already noted, the express terms of the consent judgment in Docket No. 320 barred the Tribe and the United States from asserting against each other any claim or defense they raised or could have raised in that action. See supra, at 405. As between the parties to Docket No. 320, then, the settlement indeed had, and was intended to have, claim-preclusive effect—a matter the United States and the Tribe readily concede. Exception and Brief for United States 36; Exception and Brief for Quechan Indian Tribe 20. But settlements ordinarily occasion no issue preclusion (sometimes called collateral estoppel), unless it is clear, as it is not here, that the parties intend their agreement to have such an effect. "In most circumstances, it is recognized that consent agreements ordinarily are intended to preclude any further litigation on the claim presented but are not intended to preclude further litigation on any of the issues presented. Thus consent judgments ordinarily support claim preclusion but not issue preclusion." 18 C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 4443, pp. 384-385 (1981). This differentiation is grounded in basic res judicata doctrine. It is the general rule that issue preclusion attaches only "[w]hen an issue of fact or law is actually litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment, and the determination is essential to the judgment." Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 27, p. 250 (1982). "In the case of a judgment entered by confession, consent, or default, none of the issues is actually litigated. Therefore, the rule of this Section [describing issue preclusion's domain] does not apply with respect to any issue in a subsequent action." Id., comment e, at 257.
This Court's decision in United States v. International Building Co., 345 U.S. 502 (1953), is illustrative. In 1942, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue assessed deficiencies
We need not decide whether, in the distinctive context of the Indian Claims Commission Act, some consent judgments
The United States invites us to look behind the consent judgment in Docket No. 320 at presettlement stipulations and memoranda purportedly demonstrating that the judgment was grounded on the parties' shared view, after the 1978 Secretarial Order, that the disputed lands belong to the Tribe. We need not accept the Government's invitation. On the matter of issue preclusion, it suffices to observe that the settlement was ambiguous as between mutually exclusive
The Special Master has recommended that the Court approve the parties' proposed settlement of the dispute respecting the Fort Mojave Reservation. The claim to additional water for the Fort Mojave Reservation arises out of a dispute over the accuracy of a survey of the so-called Hay and Wood Reserve portion of the Reservation. See Arizona II, 460 U. S., at 631-632. The parties agreed to resolve the matter through an accord that (1) specifies the location of the disputed boundary; (2) preserves the claims of the parties regarding title to and jurisdiction over the bed of the last natural course of the Colorado River within the agreed-upon boundary; (3) awards the Tribe the lesser of an additional 3,022 acre-feet of water or enough water to supply the needs of 468 acres; (4) precludes the United States and the Tribe from claiming additional water rights from the Colorado River for lands within the Hay and Wood Reserve; and (5) disclaims any intent to affect any private claims to title to or jurisdiction over any lands. See McGarr Report 8-9 (July 28, 1999). We accept the Master's uncontested recommendation and approve the proposed settlement.
The Master has also recommended that the Court approve the parties' proposed settlement of the dispute respecting the Colorado River Indian Reservation. The claim to additional water for that reservation stems principally from a dispute over whether the reservation boundary is the ambulatory west bank of the Colorado River or a fixed line representing
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For the foregoing reasons, we remand the outstanding water rights claims associated with the disputed boundary
With respect to the Fort Mojave and Colorado River Reservations, the Special Master has submitted a proposed supplemental decree to carry the parties' accords into effect. That decree is reproduced as the Appendix to this opinion, infra this page and 421-422. The parties are directed to submit to the Clerk of this Court, before August 22, 2000, any objections to the proposed supplemental decree.
Chief Justice Rehnquist, with whom Justice O'Connor and Justice Thomas join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
I believe that the United States' and the Quechan Tribe's claim for additional water rights is barred by the principles of res judicata, and therefore I dissent. The Special Master concluded that an exception to the general preclusion rule applied and that, therefore, the United States' claim was not barred. The Court rejects the Special Master's reasoning but concludes that the State parties' res judicata defense is not properly before the Court. While I agree that the Special Master erred in finding the 1978 order of the Secretary of the Interior a "new fact" justifying an exception to the application of preclusion, I disagree with the Court's refusal to reach the merits of the State parties' defense.
The Court first concludes that the State parties lost the defense because they failed to assert it in a timely manner. While the State parties concede that they did not raise their claim of res judicata until 1989, it does not automatically follow that the defense is lost. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(c) provides that res judicata shall be pleaded as an affirmative defense. But the only "pleadings" in this case were filed in the 1950's, at which time no claim of res judicata could have been made. The motions filed by the State parties in 1977 and 1979 were not in any sense comprehensive pleadings, purporting to set forth all of the claims and defenses of the parties. More importantly, neither Special Master Tuttle nor this Court focused on the merits of the boundary dispute during the proceedings in Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605 (1983) (Arizona II). Rather, the Master only decided whether the Secretary's order was a final boundary determination, and, similarly, this Court simply determined
The State parties did expressly raise the defense of res judicata in their 1989 motion, and neither the United States nor the Tribe objected to its consideration. The Tribe contested the merits of the State parties' res judicata claim and argued that its water rights' claim was not precluded. In so doing, the Tribe asserted that the State parties had not argued res judicata during the Arizona II proceedings. But neither the Tribe nor the United States contended, in response to the State parties' motion, that the Court could not decide the res judicata issue because it was not timely raised. We granted the motion, and Special Master McGarr considered the claim on the merits. Under these circumstances, I believe that the State parties did not lose their res judicata defense by failing to assert it in the earlier proceedings.
The Court also concludes that this Court's 1979 and 1984 supplemental decrees "anticipated" that the boundary dispute would be finally resolved in some forum. See ante, at 411. To reach this conclusion, the Court reads too much into the simple language of the supplemental decrees and ignores language in our Arizona II opinion. The supplemental decrees stated that water rights for the five reservations "shall be subject to appropriate adjustments by agreement or decree of this Court in the event that the boundaries of the respective reservations are finally determined." 1984 Supplemental Decree, Art. II(D)(5), Arizona v. California, 466 U.S. 144, 145 (1984); 1979 Supplemental Decree, Art. II(D)(5), Arizona v. California, 439 U.S. 419, 421 (1979) (per curiam) . These decrees can best be interpreted as merely providing that the reservation's water quantity can be adjusted if the boundary changes, without deciding whether
The Court disregards this language in Arizona II because it does not mention a potential preclusion defense. However, the point is not that this Court anticipated the State parties' preclusion defense. Rather, it is that this Court recognized the possibility that the boundary issue would not be judicially resolved at all, and left open the question whether there was some defense precluding this Court's review. What that defense might be was not before the Court.
Now that the question is squarely before us, I would hold that the United States' claim for additional water rights is barred by the principles of res judicata. Res judicata not only bars relitigation of claims previously litigated, but also precludes claims that could have been brought in earlier proceedings. Under the doctrine of res judicata, "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, concluding parties and those in privity with them, not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat
In Arizona II, we recognized that the general principles of res judicata apply to our 1964 decree even though the decree expressly provided for modification in appropriate circumstances. In so doing, we noted the importance of the certainty of water rights in the Western United States. "A major purpose of this litigation, from its inception to the present day, has been to provide the necessary assurance to States of the Southwest and to various private interests, of the amount of water they can anticipate to receive from the Colorado River system. . . . If there is no surplus of water in the Colorado River, an increase in federal reserved water rights will require a `gallon-for-gallon reduction in the amount of water available for water-needy state and private appropriators.' " 460 U. S., at 620-621 (quoting United States v. New Mexico, 438 U.S. 696, 699 (1978)). Thus, we concluded that allowing recalculation of the amount of practicably irrigable acreage "runs directly counter to the strong interest in finality in this case." 460 U. S., at 620. We also noted that treating the 1964 calculation as final comported with the clearly expressed intention of the parties and was consistent with our previous treatment of original actions, allowing modifications after a change in the relevant circumstances.
This reasoning is equally applicable to the United States' and the Tribe's claim for additional water for the disputed boundary lands. Even though the exact claim was not actually litigated in Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546 (1963) (Arizona I), the United States could have raised the boundary claim and failed to do so. Indeed, in the proceedings before Special Master Rifkind, the counsel for the United States affirmatively represented that "[t]he testimony . . . as reflected by these maps and by the other testimony will define
Special Master McGarr concluded that the United States' claim was not precluded because it fell within an exception to the bar of res judicata. Wisely abandoning the Master's reasoning, the United States instead defends the Master's ruling on the ground that these claims "are not precluded, under basic principles of res judicata, because [they] were not decided, and could not have been decided, in the prior proceedings." Reply Brief for United States in Response to Exception of State Parties 21. But this argument fares no better.
The issue before the Master in Arizona I was the amount of water from the Colorado River to which the Quechan Tribe was entitled. The Master made an allotment to the reservation based on the evidence then before him as to the amount of irrigable acreage within the reservation boundary, which was undisputed at the time. Only years after that decree was confirmed by this Court in Arizona I did the United States assert a larger claim to water for the reservation based on a claim for a larger amount of irrigable acreage—not because of a miscalculation as to the irrigability of acreage already claimed, but because of a claimed extension of the boundaries of the reservation. But, at the time of Arizona I, the United States had in its possession all of
The United States offers no support for its contention that the boundary dispute could not have been decided in Arizona I except for the fact that this Court rejected the Master's resolution of the Fort Mojave Reservation and Colorado River Reservation boundary disputes. However, those boundary disputes are different. While we did not explain in Arizona I why we believed it was improper to decide the boundary disputes, California's objection was based on the fact that necessary parties were not participating in the proceedings. Specifically, California argued that it lacked the authority to represent private individuals claiming title to the disputed lands and maintained that "it would be unfair to prejudice any of the parties in future litigation over land titles or political jurisdiction by approving findings on a tangential issue never pleaded by the United States." Arizona II, supra, at 629. The Fort Yuma Reservation boundary dispute, on the other hand, is solely between the United States and the Quechan Tribe—there are no private parties claiming title to the land. Thus, the United States could have raised this claim in Arizona I, and the Master could have decided it.
Because I believe that the State parties' res judicata defense is properly before the Court and that the United States' claim for additional water rights is precluded, I see no need to remand for further proceedings. I agree with the Court that we should approve the proposed settlements of the remaining claims in this case and direct the parties to submit any objections to the proposed supplemental decree.
The State parties' tardiness in raising their preclusion defense is hard to account for, while the United States' decision not to assert claims for the disputed boundary lands until 1978 can at least be explained by the continued vitality of the Margold Opinion, see supra, at 402. It is puzzling that the dissent should go to such lengths to excuse the former delay while relentlessly condemning the latter.
"(a) When the report of the Commission determining any claimant to be entitled to recover has been filed with Congress, such report shall have the effect of a final judgment of the Court of Claims, and there is authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to pay the final determination of the Commission.
"The payment of any claim, after its determination in accordance with this chapter, shall be a full discharge of the United States of all claims and demands touching any of the matters involved in the controversy.
"(b) A final determination against a claimant made and reported in accordance with this chapter shall forever bar any further claim or demand against the United States arising out of the matter involved in the controversy." 25 U. S. C. § 70u (1976 ed.).