A long-running class-action lawsuit alleging USDA discrimination against Native American farmers and ranchers has finally made its way through the appeals process, clearing the way for distribution of additional payments to the plaintiffs and the establishment of a $265 million trust fund to support organizations that help Indian farmers and ranchers. The Obama administration settled the case for $760 million, but the number of claimants was fewer than expected, and $380 million was left over after the distribution of initial payments. The parties and the government reached an agreement providing for additional payments to the class members and the formation of the trust fund, but two members of the class objected, saying all the remaining funds should go to the claimants. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the settlement, and in March, the Supreme Court denied a petition seeking review of the appeals court’s decision. On Monday, the high court refused to reconsider its denial of the petition.
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