Decision in Tulalip Tribes v. Washington

Opinion here.

Previous coverage here.

Our conclusion is consonant with our instruction in Shoshone-Bannock Tribes that courts should hold compacting parties to the ordinary meaning of terms in their agreements. Id. at 1098–100. The plain language of the Spokane Compact shows that the Inter-Tribal Fund mechanism available to the Spokane Tribe carries with it interdependent conditions and consequences. Tulalip’s amendment would not match those terms. We take no view on whether the terms of Appendix Spokane are in fact more favorable than those included in the Tulalip Compact. We hold simply that Tulalip is not entitled as a matter of law to the more selective set of terms in its proposed amendment.2 The most-favored tribe clause does not allow a “pick and choose” arrangement. The district court correctly entered judgment for the State. Simply put, Tulalip’s proposal does not mirror the restrictions of Appendix Spokane, and those are the terms to which the State agreed.