Federal Court Holds Feds Cannot Tax Proceeds Derived Directly from Indian Lands

Here are the materials in Perkins v. United States (W.D.N.Y.):

An excerpt:

This case presents what appears to be an issue of first impression: whether a treaty between the United States and Native Americans ensuring the free use and enjoyment of tribal land bars taxes on income derived directly from the land—here, the sale of gravel mined on the land. Although at least two circuit courts have suggested in dicta that “income derived directly from the land” might be exempt from taxation under such treaties, they did so to distinguish that scenario from cases where an exemption was sought for income earned in ways that do not relate to the land itself. See Lazore v. Comm’r, 11 F.3d 1180 (3d Cir. 1993); Hoptowit v. Comm’r, 709 F.2d 564 (9th Cir. 1983). This case presents the very issue about which those courts speculated. And for the reasons that follow, this Court agrees with their speculation and finds that the plaintiffs have plausibly stated a claim for relief under two treaties with the Native American Seneca Nation.

Cert Stage Briefs in Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Chaudhuri


2015 12 14 Petition for Writ; Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County et al v Chaudhuri et al

US Cert Opp


Lower court materials here.

N.Y. Appellate Division Affirms Legality of Gaming Compacts

Here is the opinion in Schulz v. State of New York Executive:


An excerpt:

The Gaming Act, among other things, provided a statutory framework for regulating casino gambling within the state and effectuated three agreements entered into between the state and the Oneida Indian Nation, the Seneca Nation of Indians and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (hereinafter collectively referred to as the Indian Nations). Those agreements generally provided that the state would grant the Indian Nations exclusive gaming rights within their respective geographic areas in exchange for a percentage of the gaming revenues and/or support for the then proposed casino gambling referendum, which was passed by the voters at the November 2013 general election.

Supreme Court Cert Petition Filed in CACGEC v. Chaudhuri

Here is the petition in Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Chaudhuri:

2015 12 14 Petition for Writ; Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County et al v Chaudhuri et al

Questions presented:

1. Whether Congress, by enacting legislation permitting an Indian tribe to purchase land on the open market and to hold it in “restricted fee,” created “Indian country,” thereby completely divesting a state of its territorial sovereignty over that land, despite the absence of any explicit statutory language reflecting congressional intent to transfer sovereignty to the tribe?

2. Whether the Indian Commerce Clause (U.S. Const., art. I, § 8) gives Congress authority to completely divest a state of the sovereignty it had
previously exercised over land for more than two centuries and transfer that sovereignty to an Indian tribe by enacting legislation permitting an Indian tribe to buy such land on the open market and to hold it in “restricted fee.” 

3. Whether the mere congressional designation of “restricted fee” status on tribally owned land pursuant to the Indian Nonintercourse Act (25 U.S.C. § 177) implies an intent to transfer governmental power over that land to the tribe?

Lower court materials here.

Seneca-Cayuga, Seneca, and Ho-Chunk Tribal Members and Enterprise Employees Plead Guilty to Violations of Federal Cigarette Trafficking Law

Here are selected materials in United States v. Sheffler (W.D. Mo.):

Jones Plea Agreement

Barber Plea Agreement

Frenchman Plea Agreement

Sheffler Motion to Dismiss

Sheffler Plea Agreement

Magistrate Report re Parry Motion to Dismiss

Parry Objection to R&R

DCT Order Adopting R&R

Parry Plea Agreement

Parry Sentence

Second Circuit Rules in Favor of Seneca Nation in Gaming Dispute

Here is the opinion in Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Chaudhuri:

CACGEC Opinion

The court’s syllabus:

The plaintiffs, organizations and individuals who oppose the operation of a casino on land owned by the Seneca Nation of Indians in Buffalo, New York, filed an action in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York against the National Indian Gaming Commission, its Chairman, the Department of the Interior, and the Secretary of the Interior, arguing that the National Indian Gaming Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously and abused its discretion in approving an ordinance that permitted the Seneca Nation to operate a class III gaming facility in Buffalo. The district court (Skretny, J.) dismissed the action, and the plaintiffs appealed. We hold that the Seneca Nation’s lands in Buffalo are gaming‐eligible under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”), 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701–2721, as “Indian lands” under the Seneca Nation’s jurisdiction and that IGRA Section 20’s prohibition of gaming on trust lands acquired after IGRA’s enactment, 25 U.S.C. § 2719(a), does not apply. Accordingly, we AFFIRM.

Briefs here.

Lower court materials here.

Seneca Member’s Indictment under Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act Proceeds

Here are the materials in United States v. Parry (E.D. Mo.):

197 Parry Motion to Dismiss

211 US Opposition

266 Parry Objections to MJ R&R

331 DCT Order

Second Circuit Briefs in Citizens against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Hogen (FINAL)


Final CACGEC Principal Brief

Final Federal Brief

Final Seneca Amicus Brief

Final CACGEC Reply Brief

Final Federal Reply Brief

Lower court materials here.

Michalyn Steele Paper: “Comparative Institutional Competency and Sovereignty in Indian Affairs”

Michalyn Steele, a Seneca Nation member and soon to be one of only a handful of American Indian tribal member women to be a tenure system law professor (BYU), has published “Comparative Institutional Competency and Sovereignty in Indian Affairs” in the University of Colorado Law Review.

Here is the abstract:

While vigorous debate surrounds the proper scope and ambit of inherent tribal authority, there remains a critical antecedent question: whether Congress or the courts are ultimately best situated to define the contours of inherent tribal authority. In February 2013, Congress enacted controversial tribal jurisdiction provisions as part of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization recognizing and affirming inherent tribal authority to prosecute all persons, including non-Indian offenders, for crimes of domestic violence in Indian country. This assertion by Congress of its authority to set the bounds of tribal inherent authority—beyond where the United States Supreme Court has held tribal inherent authority to reach—underscores the importance of addressing the question of which branch ought to resolve the issue. This Article proposes a framework drawn from Supreme Court jurisprudence in the field of state sovereignty to argue that when sensitive issues of sovereignty are at stake, the comparative competence of the respective branches must be considered. Unlike any preceding work in this field, this Article proposes a model based on the indicia of institutional competence to suggest that Congress, rather than the courts, is the branch best suited to determine the scope of inherent tribal sovereignty.