D.C. Circuit Rejects Bid by Buena Vista Rancheria to Intervene in Challenge to Trust Acquisition

Here is the opinion in Amador County v. Dept. of Interior.

An excerpt:

In 2005, Amador County, California brought suit against the Department of Interior challenging the Secretary’s approval of a gaming compact between the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians (the “Tribe”) and the State of California. After nearly six-and-a-half years of litigation, the Tribe sought to intervene for the limited purpose of moving to dismiss the amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19. The district court denied the motion as untimely, and this appeal followed. Because we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

Briefs and lower court materials here.

D.C. Circuit Briefs in Amador County v. Dept. of Interior (Amador II) — Buena Vista Rancheria Motion to Intervene


Buena Vista Opening Brief

Amador County Brief

Buena Vista Reply Brief

DOI Letter

UPDATE: oral argument audio here.

Lower court materials:

59-1 Buena Vista Rancheria Motion to Intervene

61 Amador County Opposition

62 Buena Vista Reply

65 DCT Order Denying Motion to Intervene

Materials in related cases:

Materials in Amador I.

Materials in Friends of Amador County v. Jewell.

Oral Argument Transcript in Amador County v. Salazar


Transcript Oral Argument DCCircuit Amador County v USA Case

Some very striking comments from the judges on the ability of outsiders to challenge the viability of gaming compacts between tribes and states, especially the import of the Patchak case. Worth a read.

Here is our post on the opinion in Amador County.

D.C. Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Amador County Challenge to Gaming Compact Approval re: Buena Vista Me-Wuk

Here is today’s opinion in Amador County v. Salazar. Briefs are here. Lower court materials are here.

An excerpt:

Pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians entered into a compact with the state of California to engage in gaming on its tribal land and then petitioned the Secretary of the Interior for approval of that compact. Under the Act, “[i]f the Secretary does not approve or disapprove a compact . . . [within] 45 days . . . the compact shall be considered to have been approved by the Secretary, but only to the extent the compact is consistent with the provisions of” the Act. 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(8)(C). In this case, the Secretary took no action within forty-five days, thus allowing the compact to become effective. Amador County, in which the Buena Vista Tribe’s land is located, challenged the Secretary’s “no-action” approval, claiming that the land fails to qualify as “Indian Land”—a statutory requirement for gaming. Although the district court rejected the Secretary’s argument that Amador County lacked standing, it dismissed the suit, finding the Secretary’s inaction unreviewable under several provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. Amador County now appeals. We agree with the district court that the County has standing, but because we conclude that the Secretary’s inaction is in fact reviewable, we reverse and remand for the district court to consider the merits in the first instance.

Opening Briefs in Amador County v. Salazar — County Challenge to Tribal-State Compact

Here are the two opening briefs:

Amador County Appellant Brief

Interior Appellee Brief

Judges SENTELLE, TATEL, and EDWARDS have been assigned the case.

Lower court materials are here.