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Lincoln v. Vigil

United States Supreme Court
508 U.S. 182 (1993)



In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Indian Health Service (Service) provided health services to handicapped Indian Children in the southwest United States. This was referred to collectively as the Indian Children’s Program (Program). The Service is an agency within the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is funded by a yearly lump-sum appropriation from Congress. In 1985, the Service decided to discontinue the Program and reallocate the Program’s resources to a nationwide effort to assist Indian children. Beneficiaries of the Program (plaintiffs) brought suit against the Director of the Service and others (defendants) in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, alleging that the decision to discontinue the Program violated several statutes, agency regulations and the Fifth Amendment. The district court and the court of appeals both considered whether the decision to terminate the Program was reviewable under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) under § 701(a)(2). The Court of Appeals held that it was reviewable. The Service petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

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