Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho

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Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued October 16, 1996
Decided June 23, 1997
Full case nameIdaho, et al., Petitioners v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, etc., et al.
Citations521 U.S. 261 (more)
117 S. Ct. 2028; 138 L. Ed. 2d 438; 65 U.S.L.W. 4540; 27 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,227; 97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 4776; 97 Daily Journal D.A.R. 7871; 97 CJ C.A.R. 1000; 11 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 90
Case history
Prior798 F. Supp. 1443 (D. Idaho 1992), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 42 F.3d 1244 (9th Cir. 1994), cert. granted, 517 U.S. 1132 (1996), and cert. denied, 517 U.S. 1133 (1996).
SubsequentOn remand, 118 F.3d 1399 (9th Cir. 1997).
The Tribe's suit is not covered by the Ex parte Young exception to state immunity from suit.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy (parts I, II-A, III), joined by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas
ConcurrenceKennedy (parts II-B, II-C, and II-D), joined by Rehnquist
ConcurrenceO'Connor, joined by Scalia, Thomas
DissentSouter, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend XI

Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, 521 U.S. 261 (1997), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the Coeur d'Alene Tribe could not maintain an action against the state of Idaho to press its claim to Lake Coeur d'Alene due to the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit, notwithstanding the exception recognized in Ex parte Young. The case was an important precedent for aboriginal title in the United States and sovereign immunity in the United States.

After the district court's decision dismissing the suit, the federal government—in its guardian capacity—brought a substantially similar suit against Idaho; in 2001, in another 5-4 decision, the Court ruled for the federal government: Idaho v. United States (2001).[1]


  1. ^ United States v. Idaho, 533 U.S. 262 (2001).


  • Pamela D. Bucy, This Land is Our Land, or Coeur D'alene Tribe of Idaho v. State of Idaho, 19 Pub. Land & Resources 113 (1998).
  • David W. Gross, Examining Aboriginal Rights in Submerged Lands: Coeur D'Alene Tribe v. Idaho, 30 Idaho L. Rev. 139 (1993).
  • E. Richard Hart, The Continuing Saga of Indian Land Claims: The Coeur D'Alene Tribe's Claim to Lake Coeur D'Alene, 24 Am. Indian Culture & Res. J. 183 (2000).
  • Lydia Hawkins, An Old Doctrine Assaulted: Kennedy Attempts to Eviscerate Ex parte Young: Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, 117 S. Ct. 2028 (1997), 24 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 369 (1998).
  • John P. LaVelle, Sanctioning a Tyranny: The Diminishment of Ex parte Young, Expansion of Hans Immunity, and Denial of Indian Rights in Coeur d'Alene Tribe, 31 Ariz. St. L.J. 786 (1999).
  • Randy L. Meyer, The Supreme Court's Analysis in Idaho v. Coeur D'Alene Tribe of Idaho - Is the Young Exception to the Eleventh Amendment Inapplicable to Indian Tribe Claims?, 30 U. Tol. L. Rev. 131 (1998).
  • James R. Rasband, Was Lake Coeur d'Alene Ever Really In Idaho? Did Congress Reserve the Lake for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Prior to Statehood?, 2001 U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 380.
  • Lauren E. Rosenblatt, Removing the Eleventh Amendment Barrier: Defending Indian Land Title against State Encroachment after Idaho v. Coeur d' Alene Tribe, 78 Tex. L. Rev. 719 (1999).
  • Kathleen Smith, Land Rights: Quiet Title Action against the State: Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, No. 94-1474, 1997 Wl 338603 (U.S. June 23, 1997), 22 Am. Indian L. Rev. 249 (1997).
  • Michael R. Thorp & Kristen Bamford Wynne, The Coeur d'Alene Case: Breathing New Life into Old Defenses, 17 Nat. Resources & Env't. 194 (2003).
  • Carlos Manuel Vazquez, Night and Day: Coeur d'Alene, Breard, and the Unraveling of the Prospective-Retrospective Distinction in Eleventh Amendment Doctrine, 87 Geo. L.J. 1 (1998).
  • Eric B. Wolff, Coeur d'Alene and Existential Categories for Sovereign Immunity Cases, 86 Cal. L. Rev. 879 (1998).