The Tucker Act
The Tucker Act was passed in 1887. This law was a jurisdictional statute which expanded the scope of claims the Court of Claims could hear, but did not create any new substantive rights. Hatzlachh Supply Co. v. United States, 444 U.S. 460 (1980). The Tucker Act did two things: (1) Plaintiffs could seek judgments against the federal government for claims based upon the U.S. Constitution; (2) Circuit courts received concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Claims for money damage claims of up to $10,000. In 1911, the jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred by Congress to the federal district courts.
In the Federal Courts Administration Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-572 § 902), the Court of Claims was renamed the Court of Federal Claims. The court is established under Article I. 28 U.S.C. § 171(a). The bench consists of sixteen judges, appointed by the president for terms of fifteen years. Procedure is in accordance with the Rules of the United States Claims Court, which are derived from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Since 1982, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has is the route for an appeal from a Court of Federal Claims ruling. 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(3).
It has jurisdiction to “render judgment upon any claim against the United States founded either upon the Constitution, or any Act of Congress or any regulation of an executive department, or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort.” 28 U.S.C. § 1491. As such, the Court of Federal Claims hears three main types of suits against the government: government contract disputes; Fifth Amendment takings claims; and claims for tax refunds. The Tucker Act waives sovereign immunity for such claims against the federal government. United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206 (1983). Generally, only money damages are available in a Tucker Act claim. United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1 (1969). The Court of Federal Claims must accept as binding precedent any decision published by the former Court of Claims. West Seattle Gen. Hospital, Inc. v. United States, 1 Cl. Ct. 745 (1983). The Court of Federal Claims lacks jurisdiction under the Tucker Act to hear tort claims against the federal government; such claims must be brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Indeed, until the passage of the FTCA, private bill was the continued method for bringing tort claims against the federal government.