Editorial: Non-Indians have a right to protest tribal casinos

"Two related Michigan cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court test the Obama administration's unfair and untenable position. Twenty-eight California-based citizen groups led by Cheryl Schmit of Penryn, and her small nonprofit organization, Stand Up for California, have joined in, urging that the justices require the federal government to take into account the legitimate concerns of neighboring property owners.

The California brief, filed by the law firm, Bingham McCutchen, points out that the issue is all about casinos and, therefore, money. The brief notes that 241 Indian tribes operate 462 gambling halls across the country, including 62 California tribes.

"For tribes and private investors, however, that is not enough," the lawyers write. "Because tribes may operate gaming facilities only on Indian lands … tribes in California push the secretary of the Interior to undertake fee-to-trust conversions of lands they have purchased with casino profits and lands bought by non-Indian management companies angling to run new casinos."

Obama's Interior Department concludes that citizens have no standing, and thus no right to intervene, summarily rejecting concerns of people who seek to criticize and block massive business developments in their neighborhoods."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Feds side with casinos over property owners (The Sacramento Bee 4/7)

Related Stories:
Anti-casino group submits brief in Supreme Court land case (3/30)