Opinion: Congress overlooks tribal immunity
"You recently editorialized about an earlier piece written by Frank Parlato concerning the inequality between Indian-owned and operated businesses and those non-Indian businesses trying to compete.

In your editorial, you posed questions about how this unfair advantage enjoyed by Indian tribal businesses could be remedied. The solution to this problem was directly addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1998 case titled “Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma vs. Manufacturing Technologies Inc. (523 U.S. 721).

In that case, a unanimous nine-judge court concluded that the court-created doctrine of legal and tax immunity for Indian tribes was created in a 1921 case for entirely different purposes and to protect small, dependent and nascent Indian tribes.

The justices reasoned that in this day and age, when Indian tribes and tribal governments own and operate huge business empires and huge and varied multi-million dollar corporate holdings, that application of this immunity doctrine in such cases, was clearly an improper anachronism.

In the end, however, six of the nine justices of the court opined that the problem these court cases created by allowing Indian tribal immunity to e extended to these business enterprises, should be fixed by Congress.

Justice Stevens, writing for the three judge minority, put it succinctly saying: “Why should an Indian tribe have greater immunity than the United States, all the several states and every foreign sovereign nation?”"

Get the Story:
James E. Marino: Congress is key to business equality in Falls (The Niagara Gazette 10/1)

Related Stories:
Column: Level the playing field with Seneca Nation (9/15)

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