Caitlin McGlade of the Arizona Republic has a story on a Supreme Court case that may affect the Tohono O’odham’s prospects of building a casino in Glendale. Here is the link:

The state as well as other stakeholders such as the Tribes opposed to the TO Casino have asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to wait until the Supreme Court renders a decision on tribal immunity. The Supreme Court schedule begins in October and they hear their last case arguments in April. In May they begin to announce decisions. It is assumed that the 9th Circuit Court will agree and wait until the results of the State of Michigan vs. the Bay Mills Indian Community are rendered.

The TO case has no common ground with the Michigan case but the decision that flows from the Michigan decision will definitively impact the issue of tribal sovereign immunity across the country. The Supreme Court decision may help the Valley tribes stop the TO’s plans but it’s a double-edged sword and will affect the concept of tribal sovereign immunity. How much is anyone’s guess — it could be a little or it could be a lot.  

Sovereign immunity is a complex issue and as with all rights can and has been used positively and negatively. It provides all Indian Tribes with the right to determine their long term destinies and protects them legally. It is a concept not often understood and many have  realized, too late, that they have no legal rights on reservation land.

Lately the local media has offered citizen comments on the issue of the casino. The common theme is that the Tribes opposing the casino are greedy and are attempting to thwart competition. It is a simplistic and false notion offered repeatedly to those who are not invested in the outcome but may have a voice in the ultimate decision. They conveniently ignore a major consequence – the destruction of the State Gaming Compact and its effects. There are people who get it and understand that if the delicate balance achieved by the Compact is destroyed the door is open to see the proliferation of casinos throughout the Phoenix Metro area. There are many other reasons to keep this casino out of Glendale but they have been offered by me and others ad nausea.

So, we wait.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

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