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Law
Supreme Court ruling impacts New York land claims


New York Gov. George Pataki (R) is going back to the drawing board to renegotiate his land claim deals in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Oneida Nation case.

Pataki agreed to settle the Oneida and Cayuga land claims with four tribes. The tribes -- including two from Wisconsin and one from Oklahoma -- would receive gaming rights and certain governmental rights in exchange for dropping their lawsuits.

Pataki has since pulled the deals because the Supreme Court ruled that tribes cannot "unilaterally" assert sovereignty to land that has not been in their possession for decades. That means the tribes may have to go through the land-into-trust process or obtain special Congressional language to acquire lands in New York. For the out-of-state tribes, this is a high hurdle to break.

In addition, Pataki is reconsidering provisions of the deals that call for the tribes to impose taxes on the sale of goods. He also may require the tribes to go smoke-free at their gaming establishments.

Get the Story:
Pataki restarts land claim, casino talks (The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin 4/19)
Hearings on casinos continue (Capital News 9 4/18)
Indian negotiations could make casinos smoke-free (AP 4/18)

Get the Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

Decision in Oneida Indian Nation v. City of Sherrill:
Majority Opinion | Van Graafeiland Dissent

Decision in Cayuga Indian Nation v. Village of Union Springs:
Decision | Order (April 23, 2004)

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Pataki, county blast Oneida Nation's trust land bid (4/14)
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Cayuga tribes confident on land claim appeal (4/12)
Supreme Court decision derails Pataki settlements (4/11)
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Fallout from Supreme Court ruling on Oneida Nation (4/6)
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