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Law
Oneida Nation tax dispute headed to appeals court


Another major decision on the Oneida Nation's sovereignty is pending in court.

A federal judge ruled that the tribe's sovereign immunity protects it from lawsuits for failing to pay property taxes. The dispute is now headed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose prior ruling that the tribe doesn't have to pay taxes at all was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The sovereign immunity case has prompted New York Supreme Court Justice John Grow to delay a ruling on a tax assessment case. He said he won't issue a decision until the 2nd Circuit acts.

The Oneida Nation wants to drop the tax assessment case because it won the sovereign immunity case in federal court. Officials in Oneida County say the issue is a state matter.

In March 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the tribe couldn't assert sovereignty over its ancestral reservation without going through the land-into-trust process. The tribe has since filed an application to place more than 17,000 acres in two counties in trust.

Get the Story:
Judge defers Oneida decision (The Syracuse Post-Standard 9/8)

Relevant Links:
Oneida Nation Trust - http://www.oneidanationtrust.com
Indian Nation Fee-to-Trust Land Acquisition Applications in New York State - http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/ogc/lands.html
Oneida Nation, New York - http://www.oneida-nation.net

Sherrill v. Oneida Nation Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Concurrence [Souter] | Dissent [Stevens]

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