UNITED STATES V. SANDOVAL, 231 U. S. 28 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28 (1913)

United States v. Sandoval

No. 352

Argued February 27, 1913

Decided October 20, 1913

231 U.S. 28


Congress has power to make conditions in an Enabling Act, and require the state to assent thereto, as to such subjects as are within the regulating power of Congress. Coyle v. Oklahoma, 221 U. S. 559, 221 U. S. 574.

Such legislation, when it derives its force not from the resulting compact, but solely from the power of Congress over the subject, does not operate to restrict the legislative power of the state in respect to any matter not plainly within the regulating power of Congress. Coyle v. Oklahoma, 221 U. S. 559, distinguished.

The status of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico and their lands is such that Congress can competently prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquors into such lands notwithstanding the admission of New Mexico to statehood.

The power and duty of the United States under the Constitution to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes includes the duty to care for and protect all dependent Indian communities within its borders, whether within its original limits or territory subsequently acquired and whether within or without the limits of a state. United States v. Kagama, 118 U. S. 375.

Page 231 U. S. 29

Congress may not bring a community or body of people within range of its power by arbitrarily calling them Indians; but, in respect of distinctly Indian communities, the questions whether and for how long they shall be recognized as requiring protection of the United States are to be determined by Congress, and not by the courts.

In reference to all political matters relating to Indians, it is the rule of this Court to follow the executive and other political departments of the government whose more special duty it is to determine such affairs. If they recognize certain people as a tribe of Indians, this Court must do the same.

Quaere, and not decided, whether the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are citizens of the United States.

The fact that Indians are citizens is not an obstacle to the exercise by Congress of its power to enact laws for the benefit and protection of tribal Indians as a dependent people.

Congress has power to exclude liquor from the lands of the Pueblo Indians, for although the Indians have a fee simple title, it is communal, no individual owning any separate tract. United States v. Joseph, 94 U. S. 614, distinguished.

It was a legitimate exercise of power on the part of Congress to provide in the Enabling Act under which New Mexico was admitted as a state against the introduction of liquor into the Indian country, and the prohibition extends to lands owned by the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico.

198 F. 53 reversed.

The facts, which involve the validity, as applied to the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, of the Act of January 30, 1897, as supplemented by the Enabling Act of June 20, 1910, in regard to the introduction of intoxicating liquor into Indian country and the status of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, are stated in the opinion.

Page 231 U. S. 36

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