1 Nat. Resources L. Newsl. 1 (1967-1968)

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JUSTICE WHITE ANNUAL LUNCHEON SPEAKER
Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White at a joint luncheon
of the sections on Local Government Law, Natural Re-
sources Law, and the Standing Committee on Aeronauti-
cal Law said he knew of no conscious efforts to reduce
the court's workload by hearing fewer cases and writing
fewer opinions.
  A rather healthy slice of our time is devoted to deter-
mining which cases are to be heard, he said. As the
total case load grows, this is an increasingly time-con-
  iming function.
  White explained that the court has made greater use of
the summary docket in order to hear more cases in
less time. This means giving each side only a half hour
of argument rather than a full hour.
  Thus, last term we heard more cases ini fewer hours
than we did the year before, White said.
  He said there were 3,356 cases on the Supreme Court's
dockets last term, an increase of 100 over the previous
year and 2  times the total for 1951. The Court disposed
of 2,903, compared with 1,222 in 1951, he said.
  Of the 2,903 dispositions, 147 cases were orally
argued and were decided by written opinion, 131 cases
were summarily affirmed or reversed without argument,
and 124 appeals were dismissed, most of them for want
of a substantial Federal question, he said.
  Those 402 cases, 12 per cent of the total dispositions,
received action on the merits. The remaining 2,501 were
chiefly denials for petitions for certiorari, he explained.
  Wbite said that in an age of increasing specialization,
lawyers tend to read opinions of the Supreme Court only
as they affect the lawyer's own specialty.
White went on to explain that as you know, we sit and
act as nine men, unless someone is disqualified.
  We do not sit in panels or have specialists on the
court to whom ai work of a certain kind is assigned.
Each of us brings to the conference table his own views
of a case, and each of us votes on every case.
  He also said, many people believe that we deal ex-
clusively or mostly with constitutional issues.
  But of the 110 written opinions last term, deciding
some 147 cases, 53 dealt with constitutional issues...
forty of the 110 opinions dealt with criminal matters,

                                 (continued on page 5)


PUBLIC LANDS
On July 20 proposed Mined Land Reclamation regulations
were published by the Secretary of the Interior establish-
ing general requirements for protection and reclamation of
non-mineral surface resources in connection with explora-
tion and development of minerals on Federal and Indian
lands and of waters administered by the Department of the
Interior. The regulations apply to operations under all
laws relating to disposal of minerals, including oil and
gas and coal, but not to operations under the general min-
ing laws. They are designed to require necessary meas-
ures to protect scenic, recreational and ecological val-
ues. Holders of future permits and leases on Federal
lands are required to furnish maps, information, plans,
and performance bonds and obtain written permission
prior to commencing operations. The final date for com-
menting on these proposed regulations was October 20,
1967.
Beginning September 14, further hearings were held be-
fore the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee for
the purpose of receiving additional testimony on oil shale
and on the proposed oil shale leasing regulations pub-
lished in May, 1967. The final date for commenting on
these proposed regulations was October 20, 1967.

On July 22, 1967, proposed regulations were published
establishing uniform procedures for handling all exchanges
of Federally owned or administered lands including na-
tional forests, national parks, Indian reservations and
those administered under the Taylor Grazing Act and
other acts.
Three bills designed to provide a solution to the Alaskan
native claims problem have been introduced in this ses-
sion of Congress-S. 1964 at the request of the Department
of the Interior and S.2020 at the request of the Alaskan
Federation of Natives. (H.R. 11164 is identical to S.2020.)
S. 1964 provides for granting title in trust to native village
sites and other related lands and for hunting and fishing
permits. For other lands, the Court of Claims is given
jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate a single claim filed
by the Attorney General of the State of Alaska on behalf
of all natives of Alaska, based on the taking by the
United States. If the Court determines that as of March
30, 1867 (the date Alaska was ceded to the United States
                                 (continued on page 6)

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