Tanner v. Cayuga Nation Cert Petition



Questions presented:

1. In view of Sherrill, whether New York tribes exercise “concurrent” jurisdiction over fee lands within the plenary taxing and regulatory authority of the state and local governments, thereby enabling those tribes to engage in gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and cause the same or greater disruptions of settled expectations condemned by this Court in Sherrill.

2. Whether fee lands under plenary state and local taxation and regulation (per Sherrill) constitute “Indian lands” under IGRA because those lands are located within the Cayugas’ historic reservation.

3. Whether the Cayuga Nation’s ancient reservation was disestablished. 

Lower court materials here.

Cayuga Nation Prevails over Village in Gaming Case

Here is the opinion in Cayuga Nation v. Tanner (N.D. N.Y.):


Briefs here.

Update in Cayuga Nation Gaming Dispute with Village of Union Springs

Here are updated pleadings in Cayuga Nation v. Tanner (N.D. N.Y.):










Prior posts here.

Second Circuit Decides Cayuga Nation v. Tanner

Here is the opinion.

An excerpt:

Plaintiffs‐Appellants, the Cayuga Nation, a federally recognized Indian tribe, and individual officers, employees, and representatives of the Cayuga Nation, filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (David N. Hurd, Judge) against the Village of Union Springs, the Board of Trustees of the Village, and individual Village officials, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs contend that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701‐2721, preempts the defendants’ efforts to enforce a local anti‐gambling ordinance against a gaming facility located on land owned by Cayuga Nation.

The district court dismissed the complaint, holding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case because it could not determine, in light of an ongoing leadership dispute within Cayuga Nation, whether the lawsuit was authorized as a matter of tribal law. Following a motion for reconsideration, the district court additionally held that the individual plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to sue in their own right.

On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the district court had jurisdiction because the Bureau of Indian Affairs had recognized Clint Halftown, who initiated this suit, as the Cayuga Nation’s “federal representative,” thereby relieving the court of the need to resolve questions of tribal law, and because the individual plaintiffs had standing to challenge the anti‐gaming ordinance. We agree and therefore VACATE the district court’s order dismissing the complaint and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Briefs here.

Second Circuit Briefs in Cayuga Nation v. Tanner


Appellant Brief

Appellee Brief

Lower court materials here and here.

Update in Cayuga Nation v. Tanner

Here are more materials in the case captioned Cayuga Nation v. Tanner (N.D. N.Y.):

38 DCT Order Denying Unity Council Motion to Intervene

41 Plaintiffs Reply in Support of PI

42 Plaintiffs Response to Tanner Motion to Dismiss

50 DCT Order Dismissing Claims

52-1 Motion for Reconsideration

60 Tanner Opposition

61 Plaintiffs Reply

Apparently, the Halftown faction (the plaintiffs here) is continuing the fight for gaming, while the Unity Council group has been dismissed from the case. We posted materials on this case here.

Materials in Cayuga Nation v. Tanner

Originally filed by Clint Halftown’s group against the Village of Union Springs to enjoin the village’s effort to regulate Class II bingo; now a challenge to the Halftown group by the Cayuga Nation Unity Council. News coverage here.

Here are the materials:

1 Complaint

5-1 Motion for PI

7 DCT Show Cause Order

27 Cayuga Nation Unity Council Motion to Intervene

28 Cayuga Nation Unity Council Motion to Dismiss

32 Defendants Cross-Motion to Dismiss

33 Plaintiffs Response

The IBIA decision on the Cayuga leadership dispute is here.

A state court decision on the leadership dispute is here.