Lincoln v. Vigil

508 U.S. 182 (1993)


The Indian Health Agency within the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services provided health care for 1.5 million American Indian and Alaska Native people. The Agency established a program known as the Indian Children's Program, which was to provide therapeutic and residential treatment centers of disturbed Indian children. Funds were never expressly appropriated by Congress, but the Service allocated $292,000 for a pilot project. The Service then requested $3.5 million in appropriations to construct a diagnostic and treatment center for handicapped Indian Children. Funds were not given, but legislative reports did indicate that Service funding was increased $300,000 for a nationwide expansion and development of the program in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The national program was never implemented, but the program did continue as a service offered from the Albuquerque office. Congress was informed of these activities, and by 1985, the Service wanted to transfer the personnel across the nation in order to act as consultants to other nationwide Service programs. The handicapped Indian children (P) who had been receiving the direct clinical services sued under the issue that the discontinuance of their direct service violated the federal trust responsibility to Indians, the Snyder Act, the Improvement Act, the APA, various agency regulations and Due Process under the Fifth Amendment. The Court of Appeals held that the substance of the agency determination was reviewable under the APA. This is the holding for that part of the decision to close the clinic is committed to agency discretion.