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President Obama endorses land-into-trust foe in Senate contest in California

Filed Under: Law | Politics | Trust
More on: 2016, 9th circuit, barack obama, big lagoon, crit, democrats, elections, joe biden, kamala harris, land-into-trust, loretta sanchez, senate, supreme court
     
   

U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris (D) on the campaign trail. Photo from Facebook

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Kamala Harris in California's Democrat-only U.S. Senate race.

In a statement released by the Harris campaign, Obama and Biden cited the candidate's record as the state's attorney general. What they left out were her repeated attacks on the ability of tribes to follow the land-into-trust process, a key priority of the Obama administration.

As the state's top legal official, Harris tried to undermine status of land that was placed in trust for the Big Lagoon Rancheria more than a decade ago. The case was watched closely throughout Indian Country out of fear that her agenda could affect tribes nationwide.

But tribes breathed a sigh of relief when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Harris in June 2015. She did not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision, a move that could have drawn negative attention to her campaign.

But even before that case, Harris tried to prevent tribes from acquiring homelands. Since taking office in 2011, she opposed at least 15 land-into-trust applications, Dave Palermo reported for Pechanga.net in February 2014.

The California Democratic Party Native American Caucus also criticized Harris for her efforts in yet another case that sought to diminish the boundaries of the reservation of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. A federal judge refused to entertain the matter in a win for the tribe.

The other candidate in the race is Loretta Sanchez, a member of Congress. The two Democrats advanced to the November general election after winning the most votes in a June primary.

Get the Story:
Obama endorses Kamala Harris in California Senate race (AP 7/19)

En Banc 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions:
Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California (July 8, 2015)
Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California (June 4, 2015)

Earlier 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California (January 21, 2014)

Related Stories:
Native voters in California face unique choices in Senate election (06/08)
9th Circuit won't reconsider victory in Big Lagoon Rancheria case (07/10)
California attorney general won't comment on Big Lagoon case (6/10)
Law Article: Big Lagoon Rancheria ruling clears air on casino land (6/9)
Law Article: Big Lagoon decision brings certainty to Indian gaming (6/8)
9th Circuit sides with Big Lagoon Rancheria in gaming site dispute (6/4)
Native caucus upset with Democrats in hot Senate campaign (05/19)
Rep. Sanchez apologizes for insensitive remarks and gesture (05/18)
Jack Duran: State's 'shocking' attack on Big Lagoon Rancheria (09/30)
9th Circuit poses tough questions in Big Lagoon casino case (09/18)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (09/17)
9th Circuit to broadcast arguments in Big Lagoon casino dispute (09/10)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (08/29)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (08/27)
Patrick Sullivan: Indian Country watches Big Lagoon casino suit (06/27)
9th Circuit to reconsider Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming dispute (06/12)
Big Lagoon Rancheria asks 9th Circuit to rehear casino dispute (03/11)
Law Article: Court deals another blow to land-into-trust process (02/21)
NCAI President Cladoosby gives first State of Indian Nations (01/30)
Law Article: Decision raises questions about tribal gaming (01/27)
Big Lagoon Rancheria dealt another blow in gaming quest (01/23)
Bryan Newland: Big Lagoon decision bad for Indian Country (01/22)
9th Circuit bars Big Lagoon Rancheria from pursuing casino (01/21)

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