John D. Leshy

Publication Date



31 p. ; Opinion issued by Solicitor John Leshy on the eastern boundary of the Sandia Pueblo Grant.


The question of the proper location of the eastern boundary of the 1748 Spanish land grant to the Pueblo of Sandia in central New Mexico has been a matter of public controversy for many years. In December 1988, Solicitor Ralph Tarr issued an Opinion, in which Secretary Hodel concurred, rejecting the pueblo's claim that the eastern boundary of its grant should be resurveyed and located along the main ridge of the Sandia Mountain rather than along a foothill ridge. My reconsideration of the Tarr Opinion's conclusion on the boundary issue does not depend on a formal remand from the court, but is based on the implied power of federal agencies to reconsider previous agency decisions. Mindful of the importance of stare decisis, I have, in my tenure as Solicitor, generally reconsidered earlier opinions only when I have become convinced a previous opinion is seriously mistaken on a matter of some importance, and I have provided a reasoned explanation for doing so. Recently I reversed Part IV of the Tarr Opinion, which concluded that the Secretary of the Interior lacks statutory authority to reconsider allegedly erroneous surveys to correct errors where Indian land was involved. This reversal was in an Opinion I issued on a boundary dispute between two other New Mexico Pueblos, Santa Ana and San Felipe, in which I concluded that the Secretary has such authority.



Document Type

Court Filing



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