The Eleventh Circuit held that The Chief got it right in this unpublished per curiam opinion issued yesterday, regarding a plaintiff's repeat litigation concerning the Hungarian Gold Train. Judges Marcus, William Pryor and Martin wrote this introduction:
In the waning months of World War II, United States Army forces in Austria seized a train laden with gold, jewelry, works of art and other valuable personal property—riches that had been confiscated from some 800,000 Jews by Hungary’s Nazi-allied government. In the spring of 1945, the Hungarian government secreted the loot westward into Austria, away from the advancing Soviet Army, where it was intercepted. The United States government, which kept and housed the seized property, declared the treasure’s rightful owners “unidentifiable.” Despite pleas from organizations representing Hungarian Jewry, the United States refused to return or repatriate the property, which it deemed ownerless. Some was auctioned off, some was transferred to the Austrian postwar government, some was pilfered from U.S. storage, and some was requisitioned by high-ranking U.S. officers for their own personal use. The train, owing to its origin and its surfeit of gold, became known as the “Hungarian Gold Train.”The Eleventh Circuit also held that Judge Altonaga got it right in this unpublished per curiam opinion issued Monday, regarding the Miccosukee Indian Tribe's predilection for non-taxation.
More than fifty-five years later, a group of Hungarian Jews brought a putative class action against the United States in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the United States government’s conduct related to the Gold Train violated, among other things, the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause
Because the federal tax laws at issue expressly apply to Indian tribes, because Congress retains plenary authority over the Tribe, and because the United States is the superior sovereign, the district court correctly ordered enforcement of the administrative summons.
Finally, Chairman Billie and the Tribe assert in their reply brief that the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 ... mandates suspension of the present examination.
[b]ecause the present examination involves up to $300 million distributed to 600 tribal members or to service providers, there is a high likelihood the present payments would not qualify as “general welfare payments.”But...
In any event, we generally do not entertain issues first raised in a reply brief.Move along. Nothing to see here. That's no advisory opinion.
NB I wonder what the interest and penalties total on $300 million?