updated 8/24/2006 7:23:30 PM ET 2006-08-24T23:23:30

American Indians are moving ahead with their 10-year-old lawsuit against the government despite congressional efforts to settle the dispute.

Indians involved in the case said Thursday they plan to ask the Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision last month to remove the trial judge because of an apparent bias against the government.

“It is unprecedented for a federal judge to be reassigned under these circumstances, especially where, as here, the judge has presided over a complex case for 10 years,” said the lead plaintiff, Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Indian from Browning, Mont.

Indians also filed papers Thursday appealing a decision to throw out U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s order to shut down some government computer systems to protect trust accounts managed for Indians.

The developments come as lawmakers try to broker a settlement.

The Indians accuse the government of mismanaging more than $100 billion in oil, gas, timber and other royalties from their lands, dating to 1887.

Indians in the suit say aides for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee approached them this summer offering to settle for $8 billion.

The Indians had said they were eager to work with Congress, and the committee had scheduled a hearing this month to work out the details of the settlement legislation.

But the hearing was postponed until the fall after a meeting between the chairman, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bush administration officials.

Interior Department officials said Thursday that they respect the Indians’ right to appeal.

In July, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered Lamberth removed from the trust case, saying he had lost his objectivity. The panel said he went too far in several decisions, including one that accused the department of racism.

But Indians said Thursday that Lamberth’s “apparent bias” was justifiable frustration with the government’s treatment of them.

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