The Supreme Court recently decided that, regardless of congresses fiscal concerns, the government must actually pay the tribes what they contractually owe them.
This is important because it gives all tribes, not just those involved in the lawsuit, some level of insurance that their contracts with the Federal government, at least those already fulfilled, will not fall by the wayside, even in the face of a potential Republican austerity regime.
It is interesting because of the way the court split. It was the usual 5-4, but the dissenters were Roberts, Alito, Breyer and Ginsburg. Sotomayor wrote the opinion of the court, and was joined by Scalia, Thomas, Kagan, and Kennedy, far from the classic split. Notable that Obama’s nominees were both in favor, Bush’s both on the opposite side. Perhaps presidents have gotten more efficient at vetting their candidates: fewer surprises with the justices chosen by the last two. Either way, very likely this result will have a positive impact on Montana, since we have some of the largest tribes and reservations in the country, who do extensive business with the federal government.