Monday, February 25, 2008


Breaking News…


What the hell does that mean?

Well, awhile back, the First Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island can take land into trust.

Yeah, that stinks.

But wait - the Governor of Rhode Island, Donald Carcieri, appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States for a of writ of certiorari in the case.

So what’s a writ of certiorari?

Great question. A writ of certiorari, also known as ‘the rule of four’, means that at least four of the judges must agree to grant a second look at a certain contested court case. This alone is a significant achievement for the petitioner, because limited resources and jurisdictional issues weed out most of the requests which come before the Supreme Court. In fact, only between 80 to 150 of roughly 7,500 cases are accepted each year.

Still, what’s that got to do with us?

Well, stay with me. In the orignial Carcieri V. Kempthorne case, the Governor was protesting the taking of purchased lands, meaning non-reservation lands, into trust by the Narragansett Tribe, which was federally recognized after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. And we all know that once land goes into trust, it is taken off the tax rolls and becomes a part of a sovereign nation.

But still, that case is for Rhode Island.

Ah, but there’s the rub – it’s not! See the “et al” part of the Certiorari Granted thing?


Well, Massachusetts is one of the “et al”. We signed on to the suit.

So… if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Rhode Island after reviewing the case, it’s as if Massachusetts wins, too?

Bingo! (No pun intended.)


Yeah, wow.

And you said most of these cases don’t even get a second look?

That’s right.

So this is good, huh?

It ain't bad. In fact, if it turns out that tribes recognized after 1934 can’t put land into trust in Massachusetts, there goes Governor Patrick’s big argument that his three-casino plan is only a necessary pre-emptive strike against the supposed “done deal” that an Indian tribe can build casinos here even if we don’t want them in this State.



Why are these Justices smiling?


Mark Belanger said...

Quite right Gladys.

It should be noted that if the SC sides with Carcieri, it will take an act of Congress to get land into trust in the original 13 colonies.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting,informative,and educational Glady's. Thank you

carverchick said...

This is excellent news and a huge milestone for RI and all the other States that have signed on to the suit. Do we dare hope that the abuses of a well intended law by big money casino investors will come to it's long overdue end?

As far as our Governor goes, his preemptive scare tactic is lame at best, especially when you consider Class III gambling is illegal in this State. Perhaps this ruling will end that little charade.

Anonymous said...

So it looks like Scott Fearsome's 18 months just went kafooey!
And the land isn't even in the tribe's name in Middleboro. Wonder why they did that??? Do you think they might have suspected? Maybe they didn't trust the tribe or something. Your comments are appreciated.

Carl said...

With the composition of the current court, it doesn't look good for the Narragansetts. Especially with Roberts and Alito. They take the law for what it says and its intented purpose, not what others would like it to say for their own puposes. Too bad we have to wait until the fall for a decision.

Anonymous said...

Next time I talk to the animals, I'll let them know the trees may be staying after all. But then again, it's only 540 acres, there's plenty more land. Enough for two casino's. Or maybe -1.

Anonymous said...

Last summer things were moving too fast between the town meeting in Middleboro and the Governor's proposal "It's inevitable!" Now we have to wait this summer for a determination from the Supreme Court. How things can change in a year.