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Another land-into-trust fix reportedly being drafted in the Senate






Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill on October 21, 2015. Photo from Facebook

Another partial fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar appears to be emerging on Capitol Hill.

According to The New London Day, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has already drafted the language. Details weren't reported but it would merely ratify prior acquisitions rather than ensure that all tribes can follow the land-into-trust process going forward.

It's not clear from the story whether Feinstein intends to offer the fix as a stand-alone bill or as an amendment to existing legislation. But the paper said it will address Indian gaming, something the Democratic lawmaker has attempted in the past without much success due to opposition from tribes.

A partial fix that would ratify prior acquisitions up to February 24, 2009 -- the date of the Supreme Court's decision -- has already been added to the fiscal year 2017 Interior appropriations bill that's under consideration in the House.

The Supreme Court's decision states that the Bureau of Indian Affairs can only acquire land in trust for tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. The ruling did not define that phrase so the BIA has developed tests to determine whether it can take action for a particular tribe.

Get the Story:
Preston selectmen approve legal costs to fight proposed Congressional bill on tribal land trusts (The New London Day 6/24)

Supreme Court Decision in Carcieri v. Salazar:
Syllabus | Opinion [Thomas] | Concurrence [Breyer] | Dissent [Stevens] | Concurrence/Dissent [Souter]

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Briefs

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

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