On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Carcieri v. Kempthorne, the case that is expected to settle, once and for all, the litigation between Rhode Island and the Narragansett Indian Tribe that began in 1975, when the Narragansett filed suit to recover tribal lands in Rhode Island.
The Court is expected to decide two key issues:
In Iowa, the state Attorney General has filed suit in federal court to stop the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska from operating gaming in Carter Lake, IA.
As everyone knows (right?), IGRA only authorizes Class II and III gaming on "Indian lands." For non-reservation land, the determination of whether a parcel of land is "Indian lands" can be very complicated, requiring careful analysis of a complex history of the tribe's interactions and agreements with the state and the federal government. In his July 8 decision, federal judge William Skretny conducted just that kind of analysis, reaching all the way back to the 17th century.
July is the month for high-profile Indian gaming litigation, and from the looks of it, expect further developments in August.
Besides the controversial case handed down by the Florida Supreme Court earlier this month, litigation has been brewing in New York over the Buffalo Creek Casino.
The Mashpee Wampanoag are proceeding with their plans to open a casino on newly acquired trust lands under IGRA, rather than bidding on one of the commercial casino licenses in Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal.
The tribe is seeking over 600 acres in two parcels of trust land as its initial reservation. Under IGRA, although gaming generally is prohibited on trust land acquired after 1988, an exception is made for land taken into trust as the initial reservation of a tribe.
Rhode Island's governor and attorney general have filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule lower court decisions upholding the Interior Secretary's determination to take land into trust for the Narragansett Indian Tribe.