Litigation | Openings & Closings

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino in limbo amid change in D.C.




Artist's rendering of the First Light Resort and Casino in Taunton, Massachusetts. Image from Steelman Partners / Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts remains confident of its $1 billion casino despite uncertainty in Washington, D.C.

The initial phase of the First Light Resort and Casino was supposed to open in the summer of 2017. But a lawsuit put those plans on hold and the administration of Republican president-elect Donald Trump will play a big role in whether it goes forward.

That's because the Bureau of Indian Affairs is reconsidering the tribe's land-into-trust application in light of the lawsuit. Submissions are due by January 7, 2017, Chairman Cedric Cromwell said last week, but it's possible that a decision won't be made by the time Trump comes on board.

"That’s the billion-dollar question," attorney Bryan Newland, who worked at the BIA during the Obama administration, told The Fall River Herald News when asked about the tribe's prospects with Trump in office.

Regardless of the BIA's action, the lawsuit will continue. Both the tribe and the Department of Justice have filed notices of appeal to overturn the decision that put the casino in limbo.

Read More on the Story:
Trump could be blow to Taunton casino (The Fall River Herald News 12/12)

Court Decisions:
District Court of Massachusetts: Littlefield v. Department of the Interior (July 28, 2016)
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals: Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Jewell (July 29, 2016)

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

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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