The 2nd Circuit Court of
Appeals on Wednesday voted against reconsidering a casino dispute involving the Shinnecock Nation of
Prior to gaining federal recognition, the tribe started building a casino on a
parcel of land owned in fee status. The tribe claimed aboriginal title to the
80-acre site known as the Westwoods.
State and local authorities sued in state court but the tribe had the
case removed to federal court. A judge eventually barred construction of the
casino, ruling that the tribe can't assert
sovereignty on its ancestral land.
In June, the 2nd Circuit lifted the injunction by a 2-1 vote. The tribe -- whose federal recognition became final in October 2010 -- took the decision as a step forward and asked the state to come to the table to discuss gaming.
That hasn't happened so far but a majority of judges on the 2nd Circuit said they didn't want to review the case again.
One judge authored a dissent that was joined by two other judges, saying the court has failed to resolve important Indian land issues.
"As precedent, the result in this case has a significant impact on the rights of other tribes in our Circuit to access a federal forum to resolve questions of title when the core issue in play is whether under federal law that property is Indian land,"
Judge Peter W. Hall wrote.
"Even worse, this precedent now puts into question whether tribes may bring anticipatory suits seeking declaratory judgments concerning their land rights."
2nd Circuit Decisions:
New York v. Shinnecock Nation (November 28, 2012)
York v. Shinnecock Nation (June 25, 2012)
Shinnecock Nation urges gaming talks after 2nd Circuit decision