Casino case prolonged.Byline: The Register-Guard
It's regrettable that the Oregon Supreme Court The Oregon Supreme Court (OSC) is the highest state court in the U.S. state of Oregon. The only court that may reverse or modify a decision of the Oregon Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of the United States. has refused to hear a lawsuit challenging the governor's authority to enter into a compact allowing a casino on Indian land near Florence.
The case is likely to end up before the Supreme Court eventually, and no one's interests are served by a delay. The challenge has looked like a long shot since it was filed in September, but a final determination of the casino's legal status would have been welcome.
People Against a Casino Town, the Florence group fighting to derail de·rail
intr. & tr.v. de·railed, de·rail·ing, de·rails
1. To run or cause to run off the rails.
2. the casino being planned by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, asked the Supreme Court to take the case directly, skipping over the state's lower courts. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined the request without comment.
The court's refusal implies nothing about the legal merits of the case. PACT will now file its lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court, the first step in a process that will almost certainly lead through the Oregon Court of Appeals The Oregon Court of Appeals is the state intermediate appellate court in the U.S. state of Oregon. Except for death penalty cases, which are reserved to the Oregon Supreme Court, and tax court cases, it has jurisdiction to hear all civil and criminal appeals from circuit courts, and back to the state Supreme Court. The shortcut (1) In Windows, a shortcut is an icon that points to a program or data file. Shortcuts can be placed on the desktop or stored in other folders, and double clicking a shortcut is the same as double clicking the original file. proposed by PACT would have saved a lot of time and avoided a lot of uncertainty.
PACT claims that then-Gov. John Kitzhaber John Albert Kitzhaber (born March 5 1947 in Colfax, Washington) is a physician, member of the Democratic Party and former two term Governor of Oregon. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965, Dartmouth College in 1969, and then Oregon Health & Science University with a acted unconstitutionally when he entered into a casino compact with the tribes. Article XV, Section 4 (7), of the Oregon Constitution The Oregon Constitution is a U.S. state constitution, the governing document of the U.S. state of Oregon. It was ratified on November 9, 1857, and took effect when Oregon achieved statehood on February 14, 1859. Differences from U.S. states, "The Legislative Assembly has no power to authorize, and shall prohibit, casinos from operation in the state of Oregon." By approving a compact allowing the casino, PACT argues, the governor not only usurped legislative authority, but did so in a way that exercised legislative powers in a prohibited fashion.
The trouble is, all of the language in Section 4 preceding the portion cited by PACT sets forth the rules for operation of a state lottery A game of chance operated by a state government.
Generally a lottery offers a person the chance to win a prize in exchange for something of lesser value. Most lotteries offer a large cash prize, and the chance to win the cash prize is typically available for one dollar. . Those rules were approved not by the Legislature but by the voters, in an initiative adopted in 1984.
The existence of a state lottery opened the door to Indian casinos in Oregon. The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (Pub.L. 100-497, 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) is a 1988 United States federal law which establishes the jurisdictional framework that presently governs Indian gaming. states that "gaming activities shall be lawful on Indian lands only if such activities are located in a state that permits such gaming for any purpose, organization or entity."
As long as the state is in the gambling business, sovereign Indian tribes can seek a piece of the action. As the law has been interpreted in Oregon, there's no distinction between a bank of state-owned video poker Video poker is a casino game based on five-card draw poker. It is played on a computerized console which is a similar size to a slot machine.
Video poker first became commercially viable when it became economical to combine a television-like monitor with a terminals in a tavern and a bank of slot machines in an Indian casino.
It will be a surprise if PACT found a large legal defect in the casino compact after eight other tribes in Oregon had already opened casinos under gubernatorially approved compacts.
Opponents of state-run gambling operations, including this newspaper, could point to the Indian casinos, and the apparent powerlessness of local communities to stop them, as further evidence of the pitfalls of the 1984 initiative, pitfalls that include increased gambling addiction and public dependence on gambling revenues. Thanks to the voter-approved law and the federal Indian gaming act, however, the tribes appear to hold the high cards, and Oregon's last tribal confederation to open a casino should not be denied an opportunity granted to the others.
Yet it might be a mistake to regard PACT's lawsuit as a lost cause.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a state court decision in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of invalidating a casino compact, on grounds that the governor had improperly bypassed the state Legislature. It's not clear whether New York and Oregon have parallel processes for approving casino compacts, but both are subject to the same provisions of the federal Indian gaming act. The decision in the New York case will stiffen stiff·en
tr. & intr.v. stiff·ened, stiff·en·ing, stiff·ens
To make or become stiff or stiffer.
stiff PACT's already firm resolve to carry its challenge forward.
The Supreme Court could have chosen to settle this dispute sooner rather than later. Too bad it didn't.