Indian Gaming Today

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A “Bolt from the Blue” from the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has laid down the law once again for Indian Country, holding that the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) does not authorize the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for tribes that were not under federal jurisdiction as of the date the IRA was enacted. The decision has major implications, as is discussed in the Boston Globe, in which Steve is quoted.

The 6-3 decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, No. 07-526 (Feb. 24, 2009) throws into doubt previous decisions by the Secretary to take land into trust for recently recognized tribes, including the Narragansetts in Rhode Island (who were the subject of the Court decision) and the Mashpee Wampanoag in Massachusetts (who have been hoping to build a $1 billion casino in Middleborough).

Carcieri concerned the Narragansetts’ argument that 31 acres of land it owns in Charleston, Rhode Island, should be placed in trust. Following an administrative decision that came down on the side of the Secretary, the state sued. Both a federal district court and the First Circuit found in favor of the tribe, but the Supreme Court reversed.

The Court’s analysis for the most part turned on its reading of the IRA’s statutory language, and the related application of basic principles of administrative law. The IRA authorizes the Secretary to take land into trust for the benefit of a “recognized Indian Tribe now under Federal jurisdiction.” The question of whether “now” means in 1934, or at the time the Secretary acts, had been held to be ambiguous enough by a lower court to merit deference to the Secretary under the Chevron doctrine (which requires a court to defer to an agency interpretation under such circumstances)—as had been the case for the last 75 years.

However, writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas found the meaning of “now” to be unambiguously understood to be at “the present time; at this moment; at the time of speaking.” Hence the Secretary did not have authority to take land into trust after the date of the IRA’s enactment in 1934.

While the decision is momentous in its potential impact on a number of tribes, Congress could take up the question of what to do about the important question of how the federal government can fulfill its trust responsibility to tribes.

Here’s the Supreme Court’s
opinion.

Labels: , ,

5 Comments:

  • Hi i just checked out this amazing game by Skoda Car.Play on http://on.fb.me/iAKdnH and you can win a Xbox 360 kinect

    By Anonymous insane gamer, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:37:00 AM  

  • The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept.
    On line Bingo, TBS Poker, Real Deal Poker.

    By Blogger Win Casino USA, at Wednesday, November 30, 2011 10:08:00 PM  

  • Hey, wondering if Casino dollars are going to resolve larger issues native Americans are dealing with such as the salmon problem.
    http://www.salmongenerator.com/ this is one site that is trying. At least someone is!

    By Blogger profnewk, at Tuesday, February 07, 2012 11:25:00 AM  

  • We played a nice game y8 flash games site with my friend yesterday and 2 kililik premiered in both single and super nice I wanted to recommend to you. thanks

    By Anonymous y8, at Friday, March 02, 2012 11:46:00 AM  

  • How is it that merely anyone can compose a weblog and get as common as this? Its not comparable youve understood something incredibly impressive added comparable youve painted a good-looking give about an issue that you know not anything about! I dont want to sound require, decent at this juncture. Nevertheless do you genuinely weigh up that you can get not here with adding approximately pretty pictures and not genuinely voice anything?

    y8

    By Anonymous y8, at Thursday, April 05, 2012 2:04:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home