Oneida Nation foes anticipate a review by Supreme Court

Opponents of the Oneida Nation of New York believe the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually take up a decision affecting the foreclosure of tribal land.

in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the tribe must go through the land-into-process before asserting sovereignty on land it acquired in two counties. Following the decision, the tribe filed an application for 17,000 acres in Madison County and Oneida County.

While the Bureau of Indian Affairs was reviewing the application, the counties foreclosed on the tribe's land for failing to pay property taxes. But in a decision issued yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the tribe was protected by sovereign immunity.

Some of the language in the ruling, however, indicates the potential for Supreme Court review. "This rule of decision defies common sense. But absent action by our highest Court, or by Congress, it is the law," the 2nd Circuit said.

The counties haven't decided whether to ask the 2nd Circuit to rehear the case.

Get the Story:
Court: Oneida Indian Nation can ignore tax collector (The Syracuse Post-Standard 4/28)
Court rules that Madison and Oneida counties can’t foreclose on Oneida Indian Nation land (The Oneida Dispatch 4/28)
US judges: Counties can't foreclose on Oneidas (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 4/28)

2nd Circuit Decision:
Oneida Nation v. Madison County and Oneida County (April 27, 2010)

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

Related Stories:
2nd Circuit blocks foreclosure suits against Oneida Nation (4/27)