Thursday, June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Decision Could Affect Disgraceful Enterprise Rancheria's Casino Plan

U.S. Supreme Court decision on tribal casinos this week could present another challenge to the Enterprise Rancheria project, both proponents and opponents said.

The president of a gaming watchdog group called the decision in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak a game changer because it'll allow private citizens more opportunities to challenge a proposed casino.

"In the past, the Department of the Interior was obligated to accept letters of comment on a proposal, but didn't have to read or even consider them," said Cheryl Schmit, director of Stand Up For California!, whose Penryn-based group has opposed Enterprise Rancheria.

"Now we potentially have a level playing field," she said.

However, an attorney for the tribe said the court's 8-1 ruling sending the case back to a lower court wouldn't apply directly to Enterprise Rancheria because the proposed Yuba County casino is at a different stage.

Attorney John Maier said the court's ruling allows someone to challenge a tribe after lands were taken into trust. But Enterprise Rancheria is still awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's decision on whether they can do so, and the governor has until the end of August to make his ruling.

Even then, Maier said, existing law allows for a 30-day period to challenge such a decision. The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court would allow challenges after the period, he said.

"It may not make much difference at all," Maier said, adding the facts in the Supreme Court case, which centered on when the tribe received federal standing, wouldn't apply to Enterprise Rancheria, whose sponsoring tribe was recognized by the federal government nearly a century ago.

But the landscape has shifted, said Josh Cook, a political consultant who has worked with a Butte County tribe opposed to the Yuba County casino.

"This changes everything. Before this ruling, local people were shut out of the process. This ruling requires the federal government to consider local input from citizens," Cook said in an email. "Now the process will include the input of citizens."

Schmit also said the ruling adds to the argument against Brown approving the casino. The governor's office has not indicated when he'll make such a ruling.


Erick Rhoan said...

If we're aiming for mutual respect and acceptance between both local Indian tribes and their communities, then generally, the public should have a "say" in what major activities tribes plan to offer to the community-at-large, whether it's gaming, restaurants, or something else.

While I disagree with the Patchak decision to the extent that it carries forward Justice Thomas' narrowly construed (and erroneous) holding in Carcieri v. Salazar, I agree with a subset of the implications this decision has between tribes and local communities.

Like it or not, sovereign or not, tribes share space with the rest of us. Since Native Americans of federally recognized tribes hold dual citizenship, they have the right to comment on public works undertaken by their local communities and local governments. It should also work in reverse.

Now, one of the realities is that individuals will use Patchak as a means to gain standing in federal court where they had none before to challenge tribes' building projects. This could prove costly for both parties since Patchak only grants a private person "standing" to sue, it says nothing about whether he'll actually win his case. And civil litigation of this sort will drag on at least three to five years and cost thousands of dollars.

Whether this case leads to a "sky is falling" conclusion remains to be seen. I don't think it will. I hope -- naively, but hope nonetheless -- that this decision forces tribes to consider their neighbors before pushing forward with casino projects.

Anonymous said...

Historically when the white man took our land, forced us onto reservations, what say did they give us, as to how they were developing our stolen land! None!

Erick Rhoan said...

The answer to your question is: none. The "white man" gave us no say whatsoever. But that was centuries ago.

Now, tribes have their sovereignty and the responsibility to use it wisely. The wisest courses of action, the one that builds up positive good will among tribal and non-tribal communities, are ones built on mutual respect.

Tribal sovereignty will not last forever, based on my reading of case law; or, at the least, it will further erode to the point where commercial enterprises and pursuits undertaken by tribal governments will be viewed as non-essential to the core inner-workings of tribal sovereignty. In the meantime, tribes can only advance their well-being and help themselves by allowing some transparency into their actions while maintaining their cultural integrity.

Native Americans are a part of America's landscape, just as non-Native Americans are and we must co-exist.

'aamokat said...

So Enterprise Rancheria disenrolling over 70 or their fellow tribal members with due process of law isn't even part of the equation?

I guess the powers that be don't care about individual Native Americans at all.

'aamokat said...

That should read Enterprise Rancheria disenrolled over 70 of their fellow tribal members without due process of law.

smokeybear said...

Erick said:
In the meantime, tribes can only advance their well-being and help themselves by allowing some transparency into their actions while maintaining their cultural integrity.

With the amount of "Corruption and Criminal" activities that are so blatant, transparency into their actions isn't even going to happen. There "Miss Deeds" would be showing, and they are not about to let that happen. Why would they, they have it there way in this point of time...."Eagle Eyes."

smokeybear said...

Look to over the "Horizen," and see that "Corruption" is seemingly starting to come apart, or unravel, so to speak. It was only a matter of time. These "Criminal Tribal Leaders" have been so "Blatant" with their crimes against "Legal Native American Indians," with "Sovereignty" being their tool of choice, that their "Indescrections" are coming to the forefront for to see. Things like: "Embezzlement, Money Laundering, Buying Politians, and I could go on and on. With this comes the realization that these "Criminal Activities" have a life of its own, and "Will" be delt with in time. You do the "Crime, and you "Will" do the time!" That's how it's done in the real world, and you can only hide your "Sins" against us only so long for it will catch up with you. You are about to meet your "Waterlou!" You can only play "C.Y.A. so long before your "Indescrections" will end up taking you down. You "Treasonous Leaches" will do some serious "Jail Time" for your "Criminal Actions" against your own people for your "Greed and Self Interst..."Eagle Eyes>"

Proud Native Women said...

I agree with some of the things that are being said here... There are two sides to ever story here... The Natives and Non-Natives. What I don't understand is how "the community" being "non-Natives" Think they can tell us "Natives" what we can and can not do. Whats right from wrong. They have taken so much from us, you would think that they would have enough of what was once us!

What I also don't understand is why all of us "Native Americans" Federally recognized and not Federally recognized tribes don't work together to better us all as a people. Why we all have to fight among est each other instead of supporting one another! We could be a million strong if we all just got our "heads out of our asses" and worked together for a grater cause! They win if we keep going the way that we are now fighting and tearing each tribe apart! Do you think that the Great spirit would approve of all of this? Do you think our ancestors and out elders would approve? I don't! I'm proud to be a strong Native American women but right now my heart is heavy with sadness to see whats going on...

Anonymous said...

LOL on the Enterprise Casino! Woohoo!