Indians vs The Constitution
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Indians vs. The Constitution
They are Native Americans who are trying to build better lives for themselves but are stopped in there tracks by the state supreme court. Proposition 5 passed in November of 98, which would allow more gambling in the Indian reservations. The proposition was ruled to be unconstitutional. Now the Indians are rebutting the fact that they are sovereign and the ballot was passed.
Under existing law, Indian tribes operate as semi-sovereign nations, and are liable under federal law only. Recently, the long-standing political and legal tension between the Indians and the government, which has characterized the relationship since colonization, has entered into the debate over tribal gaming. Indian gaming is not new to California. In fact, tribes have been performing gambling operations on tribal lands since the late 1970's. What began as a small-time operation with a couple of bingo games and card tables has grown into a lucrative industry. "There are currently no revenue estimates for tribal gaming, the best estimation is that Indian gambling generates hundreds of millions of dollars." (McCormick) Much of the current conflict can be traced to voter approval of Proposition 37 in 1984, which enacted the California State Lottery. State authorization of gambling provided the California Indians with leverage to justify their gaming operations. However, as tribal gaming facilities grew, they began to violate state laws regarding hours of operation, sizes of prizes offered, and licensing requirements. State officials contended that the Indians were violating California law, which prohibits "Nevada and New Jersey-style" casino gambling. The state relied on federal law, which authorized state jurisdiction over certain activities on Indian lands. But the Indians won. "The United States Supreme Court decided that the state could not prohibit the Indians from conducting gambling since it promoted legalized gambling through the state lottery." (Levin) One year after this court decision, Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which regulates Indian gaming throughout the states. In passing this law, Congress intended to strike a balance between state and tribal leaders, allowing the state some input over casino-style gambling, while encouraging tribal autonomy and economic self-sufficiency.
The present conflict between some California tribes and the Wilson administration concerns tribal operation of electronic gaming devices. The state asserts that these devices are slot machines and, illegal under California law. Many tribes contend that, as sovereign nations, they are not subject to state regulation. The state has demanded the tribes to cease their gambling operations and enter into an agreement with the state, which will allow "legal" tribal gaming. Some tribes have agreed to Wilson's demands, recently signing the Wilson-Pala Compact that provides state control of tribal gaming and also establishes a limit on the size of gaming operations. The majority of tribes have refused to agree to the terms of the Wilson-Pala Compact, however, claiming that it is inflexible and grants the state too much power over tribal affairs.
Proposition 5 provides the terms of a tribal gaming compact and requires the Governor to permit any tribe to enter into the compact upon request. In general terms, Proposition 5's compact contains fewer restrictions upon tribal gaming than is provided for in the Wilson-Pala Compact and is more protective of Indian sovereignty. The differences relate to such diverse issues as the number of slot machines permitted, the type of games authorized, the degree of state involvement in regulating tribal gaming, employee rights, local community involvement, liability provisions, and the applicability of state health and safety requirements.
Two constitutional concerns arise from the language of the proposition. The first is whether the proposition establishes a statute, or just forces executive action that is not within the power of the initiative. The second has to do with the Governor, if he constitutionally can be allowed to sign a compact. Regarding the first issue, the language of the measure appears to enact a statute and would therefore be within the initiative power. However, the second issue does not appear to be as clear cut. Compelling the Governor to enter into an agreement with any requesting tribe, without negotiation, may unconstitutionally impair the Governor's discretionary authority. Since the Governor will likely need to balance various policy considerations and exercise individual judgment prior to striking a gaming agreement and signing a compact, this function is likely
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Law, Gambling, United States, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Native American gaming, California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, Indian reservation, Tribal sovereignty in the United States, Slot machine, Public Law 280, Tribal-state compacts, Alabama people
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