indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Appeals court blocks Class III gaming for Texas tribe
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Filed Under: Law

A federal appeals court on Friday handed the state of Texas another win in the state's long-running campaign against Indian gaming.

Texas officials -- including former governor George W. Bush -- have repeatedly refused to negotiate with tribes even though certain types of Class III games are legal in the state. The stalemate led the Kickapoo Tribe to petition the Interior Department, as its trustee, for help.

Acknowledging the roadblock, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in May moved to issue procedures to allow the tribe to offer some Class III games. Slot machines, which are the most lucrative form of gaming, were not included.

Despite the restriction, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Bush appointee overstepped his bounds. In a 2-1 decision, the court said Kempthorne went against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by cutting the state out of the Class III compacting process.

"The Secretary may not decide the state's good faith; may not require or name a mediator; and may not pull out of thin air the compact provisions that he is empowered to enforce," Chief Judge Edith H. Jones, a Reagan appointee, wrote in the 42-page opinion. "To infer from this limited authority that the Secretary was implicitly delegated the ability to promulgate a wholesale substitute for the judicial process amounts to logical alchemy."

The holding drew a critical response from Judge James L. Dennis. In a 31-page dissent, the Clinton appointee said Congress gave the Interior Department broad authority to ensure tribes can conduct Class III gaming in states where such gaming is legal.

"The purpose of the IGRA is not simply to establish a neutral bargaining forum; IGRA’s purpose is to affirmatively help Indian tribes enter and conduct the business of gaming, where gaming is not prohibited by state laws of general application, as a means of 'promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments,'" Dennis wrote, citing a key provision of IGRA.

And despite agreeing with the outcome of the case, another member of the 5th Circuit expressed concerns that the decision gives states like Texas "leverage to block gaming on Indian land under IGRA in a manner wholly contrary to Congress's intent." Judge Carolyn Dineen King, a Carter appointee, said "the situation clearly calls for congressional action."

Tribes have repeatedly asked Congress to address the situation at issue in the case. In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court in Seminole Tribe v. Florida said states can invoke their sovereign immunity to block lawsuits over their failure to negotiate Class III compacts.

But attempts to amend IGRA in a manner seen as favorable to Indian Country have failed amid conflicting tribal, state and federal interests. Most recently, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) cast the deciding vote against a proposal to "fix" the Seminole decision when the issue came before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee last year.

That leaves tribes like the Kickapoo unable to realize the full intent of IGRA. The tribe, which operates a Class II facility on its reservation, has been asking for Class III gaming since 1995, when President Bush first served as governor.

Two other Texas tribes -- the Tigua and the Alabama-Coushatta -- defied the state and offered Class III games after their requests for compacts were rejected. But in lawsuits initiated under Bush, the 5th Circuit ordered the tribes to close their casinos, sending both into financial difficulties.

The Kickapoo appeared to have a stronger case because the Tigua and the Alabama-Coushatta are subject to special acts of Congress that limit their ability to engage in gaming. But the 5th Circuit -- a heavily conservative court that has consistently ruled against tribal interests -- said the state has the upper hand.

As tribal casinos have exploded into a $23 billion industry, most states have agreed to Class III compacts in exchange for a share of the revenues and regulatory considerations. But a handful -- notably Oklahoma, Wyoming, Florida Texas and Nebraska -- refused to play along.

Oklahoma shifted its stance after state voters approved a Class III compact at the polls three years ago. In a slew of decisions, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals found Wyoming to be negotiating in "bad faith" under IGRA.

And Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is reportedly close to a deal to the Seminole Tribe, whose leaders sought help from the Interior Department in the same way the Kickapoos in Texas did.

That leaves Texas -- which operates a lottery and allows some types of electronic gaming machines -- and Nebraska as the main holdouts. The Santee Sioux Tribe in Nebraska has petitioned the Interior Department for Class III games though the issue has been tied up in the courts for several years.

Get the Decision:
Texas v. US (August 17, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino - http://www.kickapooluckyeaglecasino.com
National Indian Gaming Commission - http://www.nigc.gov
National Indian Gaming Association - http://www.indiangaming.org
Senate Indian Affairs Committee - http://indian.senate.gov

Related Stories:
Florida close to compact with Seminole Tribe (8/20)
Senate panel holds first hearing on gaming in 110th Congress (6/29)
Sen. Cornyn asks DOI to delay Kickapoo gaming (6/29)
IGRA amendments pass first major Senate test (3/30)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
Supreme Court hands defeat to tribal interests in sovereignty case (4/25)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Gamesmanship' brings defeat in Supreme Court (4/25)
Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case (4/25)
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute team wins NASA prize (4/25)
Former top Bureau of Indian Affairs official joins Washington firm (4/25)
Native Sun News Today: Groups fight uranium mining in Black Hills (4/25)
Cronkite News: Budget deadline falls on Donald Trump's 100th day (4/25)
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act heals our families (4/25)
André Cramblit: Tribes must make language survival a top priority (4/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes big crowd to $510M casino in Washington (4/25)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe sees more opposition to gaming win (4/25)
Pojoaque Pueblo loses big decision in gaming dispute with state (4/24)
Supreme Court takes no action on long-running tribal land case (4/24)
Yakama Nation landowners see $68M in Cobell buy-back offers (4/24)
Tim Giago: Sovereignty at risk with Donald Trump in White House (4/24)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump & Republicans can't seem to govern (4/24)
Native Sun News Today: Chickasaw citizen donates prom dresses (4/24)
Steve Russell: The BEST advertisement for education in America (4/24)
Arlana Bennett: Picking cans with my father became our tradition (4/24)
Terese Mailhot: Maybe some people should be able to play Indian (4/24)
Charles Kader: Tribal communities still face threats to their lands (4/24)
3rd suspect sought in connection with death of elderly Native man (4/24)
Mashantucket Tribe expresses interest in growing industrial hemp (4/24)
Shutdown of federal government looms ahead of April 28 deadline (4/24)
Confederate monuments start coming down as Jackson stays put (4/24)
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.