Law

Oneida Nation hails apparent end to local foreclosure lawsuit





It looks like the Oneida Nation of New York has succeeded in preventing two counties from foreclosing on its property.

The tribe has acquired more than 17,000 acres within its original reservation. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the tribe must go through the land-into-trust process before asserting sovereignty over the land.

Subsequently, Oneida County and Madison County foreclosed on the tribe for failing to pay property taxes on land that wasn't in trust. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals backed the tribe, ruling that it hadn't waived sovereign immunity.

The counties appealed and the Supreme Court agree to hear the case. But before oral arguments, the tribe waived its sovereign immunity for foreclosure proceedings and the case was sent back to the 2nd Circuit.

The counties then attempted to get the 2nd Circuit to determine whether the reservation has been diminished. The court, however, said it wouldn't revisit the issue.

"We are pleased that today's ruling puts an end to legal challenges to the status of the Oneida reservation. This ruling is good news for Oneida members, our more than 4,500 employees and their families, and for the entire Central New York region.," the tribe said in a statement. "This decision allows everyone to finally move beyond the conflicts of the past and chart a new, more prosperous path for the future.”

The counties are considering another appeal. The tribe apparently still has to pay property taxes post March 29, 2005 -- the day of the Supreme Court ruling.

Get the Story:
N.Y. Second Circuit Court won’t rule on Oneida Indian Nation reservation status in foreclosure case (The Oneida Dispatch 8/21)

Earlier 2nd Circuit Decisions:
Oneida Nation v. Madison County (October 20, 2011)
Oneida Nation v. Madison County and Oneida County (April 27, 2010)

Sherrill v. Oneida Nation Supreme Court Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]