Rep. Cole authored land-into-trust provision in appropriation bill
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), the only Native American in Congress, authored the fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar that passed the House as part of the 2011 continuing resolution.

Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, introduced a bill to fix to the decision last year. A version was inserted into an appropriations bill over the summer and it ended up in the continuing resolution.

"What the Supreme Court has done -- by a very narrow interpretation of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act--is to create two classes of Indian tribes, some of whom can receive land in the trust, as they have for 80 years by Secretaries of the Interior of both parties, and some of whom now cannot," Cole said on the floor yesterday. "Almost all the cases involved here, almost every single one, involved cases that have absolutely nothing to do with gaming."

"This is ultimately a sovereignty issue and a process issue. Frankly, if this fix is not made, it would not have been made without the support, frankly, of the members of the committees of jurisdiction and of the United States Senate, who said this was the best vehicle and the best way to go," Cole continued. "But if the fix isn't made, we are going to have billions of dollars worth of litigation and have enormous disruption of economic development in Indian Country."

The fix is in Section 2727 of the continuing resolution.

Get the Story:
Rep. Tom Cole praised by liberal Democrat after dust-up over Indian legislation (The Oklahoman 12/9)
US House vote gives Narragansetts boost in land debate (The Providence Journal 12/9)
Courtney opposes government funding bill over provision to reverse Indian land decision (The New London Day 12/9)
Dems slip Indian gambling measure into spending bill (Beltway Confidential Blog 12/9)

Supreme Court Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Thomas] | Concurrence [Breyer] | Dissent [Stevens] | Concurrence/Dissent [Souter]

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Briefs

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