Tenth Circuit Strikes Down Part 291 Secretarial Procedures

Here is the opinion in State of New Mexico v. Dept. of Interior.

Briefs here.

Tenth Circuit Briefs in New Mexico v. Dept. of Interior (Challenge to Part 291 Regs re: Pojoaque Pueblo)

Here are the briefs:

Interior Opening Brief

Pojoaque Opening Brief

New Mexico Brief

Interior Reply Brief

Pojoaque Reply Brief

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Invalidates Part 291 Secretarial Procedures in Pojoaque Pueblo Case

Here are the materials in State of New Mexico v. Dept. of Interior (D. N.M.):

37 Interior Motion for Summary J

39 New Mexico Motion for Summary J

40 Pojoaque Opposition

41 New Mexico Opposition

42 Interior Opposition

43 Pojoaque Reply

44 Interior Reply

46 New Mexico Reply

48 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Plaintiff State of New Mexico challenges the Department of the Interior and the Secretary of the Interior’s legal authority to implement regulations found in 25 C.F.R. § 291 (“Secretarial Procedures” or “Part 291 regulations”). The Secretarial Procedures, if adopted, would allow the Pueblo of Pojoaque to conduct Class III gaming on its reservation. New Mexico asks this Court to declare the Secretarial Procedures invalid because they conflict with the unambiguous terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”), 25 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq. and violate New Mexico’s sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.

Recent Decision Applying BIA Leasing Regulations Signals a Shift in Indian Tax Law

By: Del Laverdure and Bryan Newland

Last week’s decision out of the U.S. District Court in Southern Florida in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida could signal a potential shift in Indian tax law.

For many tribal leaders and Indian law practitioners, tax law in Indian country is an intimidating jurisdictional maze – often times allowing state and local taxes to apply in Indian country in spite of tribal territorial sovereignty. The outcome of an Indian tax case depends upon a combination of the type of tax or government fee imposed, the government doing the taxing, the individual or entity being taxed, and the location of the activity, individual, or property being taxed.

Many states have levied taxes on non-Indians and non-Indian businesses working in Indian country; and, in recent years, these efforts have been upheld under the Supreme Court’s decision in White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker. Under that case, a reviewing court must balance the interest of the tribe, the state, and the federal government when deciding whether state taxes in Indian country are preempted by federal law. In many losing cases, tribal litigants have tried to invalidate state taxation without a clear statement of the federal government’s interest.

In the Seminole case, the State of Florida was attempting to impose two different taxes on tribal lands: a “rental tax” on businesses leasing property from the Tribe; and, a “utility tax” on electricity delivered to the Tribe’s lands. The Court held that Florida’s rental tax was preempted by federal laws governing leasing on Indian lands (it also invalidated the utility tax because the legal incidence of the tax fell on the Tribe).

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New Mexico Files Suit to Challenge Application of Part 291 Secretary Procedures to Pueblo of Pojoaque

Here is the complaint in State of New Mexico v. Jewell (D. N.M.):

1 Complaint

Here are the materials in Pueblo of Pojoaque v. State of New Mexico (D. N.M.) referenced in the complaint:

11 Pueblo of Pojoaque Motion for Default Judgment

15 New Mexico Response to Motion for Default Judgment

18 Pueblo of Pojoaque Response

20 New Mexico Answer

21 DCT Order Setting Aside Default Judgment

22 DCT Order Dismissing Case

We posted the complaint in that case here.

Fletcher Paper on the Seminole Tribe and the Origins of Indian Gaming

At the invitation of Alex Pearl and the FIU Law Review to write a symposium piece on Florida Indian history and law, a challenge for me since I know very little about it, I came up with “The Seminole Tribe and the Origins of Indian Gaming.” Assuming the law review finds it publishable, it will appear in the FIU Law Review alongside the work of luminaries like Siegfriend Weissner and Sarah Krakoff.

Here is the abstract:

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has played perhaps the most important role in the origins and development of Indian gaming in the United States of any single tribe. The tribe opened the first tribally owned high stakes bingo hall in 1979. The tribe in 1981 was involved in one of the earliest lower court decisions forming the basis of the legal theory excluding most states from the regulation of high stakes bingo, a theory that Congress largely codified in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) years later. The tribe was a party to the Supreme Court decision in 1996 that radically altered the bargaining power between tribes and states over the negotiation and regulation of casino-style gaming under IGRA. And more recently, the tribe has been a leading participant in negotiations and litigation over the regulatory landscape of Indian gaming after the 1996 decision. The Tribe is one of the most successful Indian gaming tribes in the nation.

This paper traces that history, but also offers thoughts on how the culture and traditional governance structures of the Seminole Tribe played a part in its leadership role in the arena of Indian gaming.