The judges hear the Pueblo Tribe’s case over the Reserved Land Bingo

Nine Supreme Court justices pose for a group photo in 2021

Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett pose for a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

During Tuesday’s oral debates at Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo v. TexasJustices of the Supreme Court of the United States considered whether to allow federally recognized Native American tribes to run bingo games on its reservation near El Paso, Texas.

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribe, supported by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, aspires to operate its bingo-themed casino on the small reserve of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo near El Paso. The issue was whether tribes could engage in certain gaming activities, namely live bingo and casino-style slot machines, despite Texas state law prohibiting those. that game.

Texas argues that Pueblo is the subject of 1987 Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Texas Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes Restoration Act (“Reinstatement Act”), which prohibits any game that violates Texas law. In addition, the tribes argued that 1988 was more lenient Game Regulatory Act of India (“IGRA”) controls and it authorizes the types of games they seek to operate.

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, the judges publicly cast doubt on the attorneys’ arguments Brant Martin on behalf of tribal plaintiffs. Judge John Roberts commented that by the time the tribes signed an agreement with the federal government to restore their federal trust, “each side had something, but not everything.” As Roberts explained, Pueblo is willing to abide by state laws that ban gaming.

Furthermore, Roberts pointed out, the case before the Court has a long record of legislative intent. “We’ve never seen this right in legislative history,” Roberts remarked, causing Justice to chuckle Clarence Thomas.

At some point during the arguments, the judges found themselves engaged in a detailed discussion of bingo, as they analyzed whether the game sought by Pueblo was indeed infringing. Texas Bingo Act (State law contemplated in this dispute).

“Did someone dial the number? And said “B-12,” asked the judge.

Martin replied that Pueblo operates live bingo in addition to slot machine bingo and that Texas “complained about all of that”.

“I’m curious about bingo machines,” commented Justice Stephen Breyerlaugh a little.

The Biden administration has entered the debates as a relative, supporting the tribal plaintiffs. Assistant to General Counsel Anthony Yang state the argument of the government. Much of the discussion that followed revolved around the Court’s 1987 decision in California v. Missionary Indians’ Cabazon Band; the The Cabazon Band the case is called paying attention to the difference between straight gaming Ban according to state law and allowed game, subject to certain restrictions.

Judges sometimes raised some larger concerns about the law as it applied to the Indian tribes. Justice Sonia Sotomayor highlighted Yang on the implication of the 1986 Tribal Resolution, saying that in her mind, under that resolution, “You need India’s approval to have any applicable state law regarding reservations. “

Justice Elena Kagan expressed frustration with the guidance provided by the myriad and often contradictory rules of law, wondering aloud, “maybe we should throw them all out” and commenting, “I think we should do like that.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch absorbed Kagan’s line of reasoning, asking Yang, “The government doesn’t give up sovereign immunity lightly, does it – that’s one of our rules, isn’t it?” Gorsuch continued, “And isn’t Indian canon law very similar in its function to say that we do not disdain that Congress has authorized state organs to regulate an independent nation?”

Deputy Chief Attorney General of Texas Lanora Pettit began his remarks in court by characterizing Pueblo’s relationship with the federal government as 5th Street had made a decision in Texas’ favor: “The tribe wants federal recognition and is willing to ceded some of its sovereignty.”

When Justice Kagan questioned Pettit, she tied the fate of Texas’ argument to reading Cabazon bonds case.

“If we were in a world without context, I think you would win,” said justice.

“The question is do we have too many contexts [about the specific statutory meaning] that you lose? ” Kagan asked. “Cabazon is like written all over this statute,” continued justice, adding: “Why isn’t it in this statute in a way that goes against your claim here?”

Right after Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo v. Texasthe judges heard the arguments in Denezpi v. USAa case that raised questions about the sovereignty of the Indian tribes in the context of constitutional guarantees against dual danger.

[image via Erin Schaff/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] The judges hear the Pueblo Tribe’s case over the Reserved Land Bingo

James Brien

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