Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Supreme Insult - Carcieri Decision crushes Wampanoag casino dreams

In February of 2009 the Supreme Court delivered what should be a final blow to the Mashpee Wampanoag attempts to create an Indian gaming operation and tax exempt income for their deep pocketed Asian gaming syndicate financial backers.  It's doubtful that even Genting's billions can't buy off enough Members of Congress to fix this one.

The Carcieri v. Salazar Decision states that the Secretary of the Interior lacks the authority to take land into trust for any Indian tribe that was not federally recognized prior to 1934.   As such, it now requires an act of Congress with the signature of the President of the United States for any tribe not recognized prior to 1934 to be granted land into trust required for an Indian gaming operation.

Lest the Wampanoag and Genting incorrectly think Congress will act on their behalf, they need look no father than their own back yard.  Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) opposes the Wampanoag's on this and has written his constituents and specifically stated:  "do not think that a proposal to circumvent the Court’s interpretation of the 1934 Indian law is likely to be considered on the House floor for a vote. Should that occur, however, I will not be supportive of passage..."

If lacking support from your own Member of Congress isn't enough, neighboring, according to Gale Courey Toensing, Rhode Island representatives will fight this tooth and nail to protect their casino campaign money piggy banks.  As will influential senators from other western tribes who have already said they will block any efforts to dilute their established tribes hold on this lucrative space.

Finally, 17 states attorney's general have written Congress to say they oppose and will litigate attempts to enact legislation.  It's clear, should this Wampanoag project continue to be part of Massachusetts gaming  plans it's a guaranteed lengthy legislative and legal delay against any hopes for jobs and income for the people of Massachusetts. 

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