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Schaghticoke case in hands of U.S. Supreme Court
BY GEORGE KRIMSKY REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
KENT -- It's a waiting game now.
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has put the fate of its case for sovereign recognition in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, the last stand in a judicial struggle that has jangled nerves here and in Hartford for the past 15 years.
The small tribe, which makes its official home on a 400-acre reservation in Kent, has exhausted all other judicial avenues in its quest to overturn a 2005 decision by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to deny the national sovereignty that would allow the Schaghticokes to take charge of their own financial destiny. Opposition is largely based on a fear that the tribe would try to establish a third gambling casino in Connecticut.
Last week, the office of U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan waived its right to respond to the tribe's petition for a writ of certiorari, which basically is a request for the high court to review the case. Her office in Washington, D.C., would not comment when asked about the waiver Monday, but deciding not to respond in support or opposition to a petition like this is fairly common, according to court observers.
Coincidentally, the U.S. Senate began confirmation hearings Monday on President Barack Obama's nomination of Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who departed the court that day. Because the high court is set to begin its summer recess next week, action on the tribe's petition or any other is unlikely before the justices return in late September.
"We don't see anything happening until the fall," said Kent resident James Perkins, who co-founded a citizens' group to oppose Schaghticokes' federal recognition. Town Action to Save Kent, or TASK, has focused on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' role in the case and has not participated in the court-based proceedings.
For the past five years, the tribe has unsuccessfully tried to prove that the bureau reneged on its initial recognition decision because of "political pressure" from the Town of Kent and the state of Connecticut, led by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Both the federal court in New Haven and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected tribe's arguments that the bureau showed bias in its decision as a result of that pressure, mounted by a well-connected lobbying firm paid by the Kent citizens' group.
The tribe took its final appeal to the country's highest court on May 24, no longer asking for a review of the case on grounds of government bias but for what it said was the appeals court's refusal to consider the "appearance of bias" in its deliberations.
"That is a legitimate standard that we believe should be applied in this case," Richard Emanuel, a Branford attorney who represents the tribe, said in a phone interview. "Judges frequently recuse themselves over the appearance of bias in a case," he said.
http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2010/06/ … 491266.txt
I signed their petition, a few years back (with comments in Delaware). I wish them success; though, with this particular Supreme Court, I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
It's a same because they have a good case,alot better then some other tribes. I believe they've got a hard run to go I wish them all the best.
Last edited by dennison (Jun-29-2010 09:35:pm)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation recognition: End of the road?
Susan Tuz, Staff Writer
Published: 11:20 p.m., Wednesday, October 6, 2010
http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/S … 690004.php
KENT -- The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a petition by the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation for a review of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs' denial of recognition of the tribe.
The review request was denied by the court on Monday, its opening day, according to the Supreme Court docket-listings website.
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has fought for years in the federal courts to overturn the 2005 federal decision to deny sovereignty to the tribe.
In 2004, the BIA granted sovereignt. But later that year, after state officials and members of Congress criticized the decision, the recognition was reversed.
"The BIA soundly rejected the Schaghticoke claim because the group has not existed as a continuous tribal political and social entity," said state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who fought against the tribe's recognition.
Blumenthal said sovereign status is reserved for groups that meet federal criteria and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation did not meet those criteria, he said.
In its appeals, the Tribal Nation argued that recognition opponents in Connecticut had exerted "improper political influence" on the BIA. But that claim was unsubstantiated.
"The Supreme Court has refused to hear and overturn the Schaghticoke case and this decision should mark the end of a meritless petition for tribal recognition," Blumenthal said.
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation's attorney before the Supreme Court, Richard Emanuel, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
However, according to the court's website, a petition for rehearing may be filed within 25 days of the court's denial of a petition for a "writ of certioari" -- the legal term for the type of petition the Schaghticokes filed.
However, certain conditions would have to be met for the new petition to be considered, according to "Rules of The Supreme Court of The United States: effective Feb. 16, 2010."
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Chief Richard Velky could not be reached for comment Wednesday. In mid-August, during an interview with The News-Times, Velky had blamed the tribe's status on Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
"Our situation is one Governor Rell has put us in," Velky said. "Right now, anyone could lay claim to being the chief of the tribe. Anyone can claim to be a Schaghticoke. It's not a question of genealogy. Our genealogy has been proven time and again."
More than a decade ago, the Kent-based Schaghticokes split into two factions. The best known is the 300-member Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. Led by Velky, that faction has tried for years to win federal recognition.
Contact Susan Tuz
Last edited by sschkaak (Oct-07-2010 01:21:pm)