Lawyers for Harvard's Center for Law and Education (CLE) last week won in court what they called "the first square, clear ruling that the judicial branch has jurisdiction over the President."
In a case involving impoundment of funds for Indian education, Judge June Green of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia decided Monday that CLE lawyers can continue to name President Nixon as a defendant.
Daniel Rosenfelt, a CLE lawyer handling the case, said that the court will probably issue an injunction against Nixon after a hearing next Monday, and that this would be the first time that the courts had taken such an action.
The CLE is representing several Indian tribes and Indian-dominated school boards which are trying to force Nixon to appoint a national advisory council to supervise implementation of the Indian Education Act of 1972.
Eric VanLoon, a CLE attorney, said that the ruling had been won because the Indian Education Act mandated action by the President.
In past cases, he said, implementation of disputed programs was "in the President's broad, discretionary powers."
A spokesman for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare said that his department had filed an affidavit in District of Columbia Federal Court recommending that guidelines for implementation of the program be set up.
Rosenfelt said that the affidavit was prompted by the CLE's suit, but added that Nixon must still appoint the national advisory board for the program to go into effect.