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Judge weighs venue in Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe casino suit

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Litigation
More on: doi, igra, jurisdiction, land claims, massachusetts, wampanoag
A federal judge will determine whether he will hear a gaming dispute between the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and the state of Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D) filed a lawsuit in state court after the tribe announced plans for a Class II facility on its reservation. The tribe had the case moved to federal court but Patrick filed a motion to get it back to state court.

"It's an interesting question. It was well-briefed and well-argued," Judge F. Dennis Saylor told the parties in court on Monday, The Cape Cod Times reported.

The venue could play a pivotal role in the lawsuit. The state courts have already ruled that the tribe must comply with state laws due to a provision in the Massachusetts Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987.

The federal courts, however, do not seem to have ever ruled on that issue. The tribe argues that its rights were confirmed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

"I'm extremely confident in the questions we raised before the court today," Chairman Tobias Vanderhoop told the paper. "Not only do we have federal rights, but federal court is the right venue."

Saylor did not say when he would issue a ruling on the venue.

Get the Story:
Jurisdiction at heart of Aquinnah casino push (The Cape Cod Times 3/11)
Judge mulls tribe case venue (The Boston Herald 3/11)

Relevant Documents:
Solicitor Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (August 23, 2013)
NIGC Letter to Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (October 25, 2013)
Press Release: GSB Client Aquinnah Wampanoag to be First to Game in Massachusetts (November 12, 2013)

Related Stories:
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe wants gaming case in federal court (02/26)

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