Opinion: California tribes must follow same rules

"With the New Year we can start with good news: the California Supreme Court, on December 21, 2006, ruled Indian Tribes must follow the same rules as other political spenders from petroleum companies to the Sierra Club. But this is not all the really good news. It now follows.

Here is the story. This Court, in its pronouncement, recognized the U. S. Constitutional duty and power required of all states to maintain a republican form of government for its citizens, found in Article IV, Section 4, and the 10th Amendment regarding governmental powers in general. Clearly the 10th Amendment limits governmental powers to state governments, the federal government, and the remaining powers (specified and unnamed) to the citizens themselves.

Tribes are excluded from the distribution of powers. Here is the actual 10th Amendment text on this matter. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." No tribes here.

Tribal reviews of this California decision are not going to be nice much less supportive. In choirs they (American citizens of American Indian descent) will protest – "this case does not apply to us or our tribe, its not applicable here," etc.

Think again my fellow citizens, think again. The Indian Industry’s entire Wall of Defense, as offensive as it has always been, has received a crippling blow by the State of California."

Get the Story:
John A. Fleming: Indian Industry's Armor is Pierced by California's Court (The Hawaii Reporter 1/22)

California Supreme Court Decision:
Agua Caliente Band etc. v. Super. Ct (December 21, 2006)

Lower Court Decisions:
FPPC V. Santa Rosa Indian Community (October 27, 2004) | Agua Caliente Band v. FPPC (March 3, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians - http://www.aguacaliente.org
Fair Political Practices Commission - http://www.fppc.ca.gov

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