House Resources Committee Hearing re: New Fee-to-Trust Guidance Announced

From Indianz:

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 27, to discuss the Bush administration’s new land-into-trust policy.

In January, assistant secretary Carl Artman issued guidelines that make it harder for tribes to take land into trust for off-reservation casinos. More scrutiny will be applied to gaming sites that are hundreds of miles away from existing reservations. [See Bryan Newland’s excellent commentary on these new rules here.]

Continue reading

NYTs Editorial on Off-Reservation Gaming

From the NYTs:

Good Decision on Tribal Casinos

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne made exactly the right call when he recently denied permission to 11 Indian tribes around the country to acquire more land in order to build casinos.

Continue reading

Assiniboine & Sioux et al. v. Kempthorne Materials

Thirty-seven individual cases raising the same claims as in the Cobell litigation had been spun off from that massive case in the past few years. The United States moved to remand and stay these cases to the Department of Interior. Yesterday, Judge Robertson declined that motion.

Here are the relevant materials:

Continue reading

Huron Nottawaseppi Declaration of Reservation

The Department of Interior took the Sackrider parcel into trust and declared it reservation land. Here’s the Federal Register notice.

The DC Circuit’s decision in CETAC v. Kempthorne cleared the way to this decision.  Here are those materials:

DC Circuit Opinion

Tribe’s Brief

Federal Brief

Michigan Amicus Brief

[CETAC’s briefs will be posted when I find them.]

Gun Lake Casino Oral Argument Report

From the Kalamazoo Gazette: “Both sides said they were optimistic after arguments were presented Friday before the U.S. Court of Appeals over the future of a proposed Indian casino in Wayland Township.James Nye, a spokesman for the Gun Lake Tribe of Potawatomi Indians, said the group is prepared to begin casino construction before year’s end if the three-judge panel ejects a challenge by Michigan Gambling Opposition, or MichGO.”

MichGO v. Kempthorne Materials

This case involves a challenge to the Secretary of Interior’s decision to take land into trust for gaming purposes benefiting the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (a/k/a Gun Lake Band).

Here is a recent news article noting that the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in this case this morning.

Here is Gun Lake’s appellate brief [it is very large, 103 pages].

Cert Petition in Carcieri v. Kempthorne


Rhode Island appeals land-into-trust ruling
Friday, October 19, 2007

The state of Rhode Island is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a land-into-trust case that is being watched by tribes nationwide.

In July, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Bureau of Indian Affairs can place 31 acres in trust for the Narragansett Tribe. The tribe is like any other tribe and can follow the Indian Reorganization Act, which authorized the land-into-trust process, the court said.

As I will argue in my forthcoming article, “Factbound and Splitless: An Empirical Study of the Impact of the Certiorari Process on Federal Indian Law,” the Supreme Court is unlikely to grant cert. in this case for two important reasons. First, there is no circuit split (“splitless”). What that means is that the federal courts of appeal that have addressed the question of the constitutionality of the fee to trust process (25 U.S.C. § 465) — the 8th Circuit in South Dakota v. Kempthorne, the 10th Circuit in Utah v. Shivwits, and the 11th Circuit in Roberts v. U.S., are examples — have held (just as the 1st Circuit did here) that the statute is constitutional.

Second, this case involves the muddying aspects of the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act and how it affects the application of § 465, rendering this case a bit messy as a factual matter (“factbound”). If this was a straight-up interpretation of § 465 without the Settlement Act’s application, the Court would be more likely to grant cert (although, without a split, not so much). In short, this case implicates a relatively small number of tribes (those Rhode Island tribes).

Land-into-Trust Decision:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (July 20, 2007)

Earlier 1st Circuit Decision:
Carcieri v. Norton (February 9, 2005)

Relevant Documents:
Carcieri v. Norton Briefs, Opinions (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe –
Tribal Supreme Court Project –