Tohono O’odham Nation v. Arizona

The Nation filed suit against defendants challenging the constitutionality of H.B. 2534, a law passed by the Arizona legislature that allows a city or town within populous counties to annex certain surrounding, unincorporated lands. The Nation alleges that H.B. 2534 was enacted to block the federal government from taking the 135 acres it purchased into trust on behalf of the Nation. The Nation planned to build a casino on Parcel 2 of the land. This process would render the land part of the Nation’s reservation pursuant to the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act, Pub. L. No. 99-503, 100 Stat. 1798. The court concluded that H.B. 2534 stands as a clear and manifest obstacle to the purpose of the Act because it was enacted after the Nation’s trust application was filed, and it uses that application itself to thwart the taking of purchased land into trust. Accordingly, the court held that H.B. 2534 is preempted by the Act. The legality of the Secretary’s taking of Parcel 2 into trust pursuant to the Act is affirmed, and the Nation is free to petition the Secretary to have the remainder of the land taken into trust, pursuant to the Act. View "Tohono O'odham Nation v. Arizona" on Justia Law