Upstate Citizens for Equality v. United States

Plaintiffs filed these lawsuits challenging the federal government's decision in 2008 to give the Oneida Indian Nation of New York over approximately 13,000 acres of land in central New York. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants, rejecting plaintiffs' claims that the land‐into‐trust procedures are unconstitutional and that certain provisions of the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA), 25 U.S.C. 2201 et seq., bar the United States from taking land into trust for the Tribe. The court agreed with the district court that the entrustment procedure generally, and this entrustment in particular, lie within the federal government’s long‐recognized “plenary” power over Indian tribes: Neither principles of state sovereignty nor the Constitution’s Enclave Clause—which requires state consent for the broadest federal assertions of jurisdiction over land within a state—prevents the federal government from conferring on the Tribe jurisdiction over these trust lands. The court further held that the Oneida Nation of New York is eligible as a “tribe” within the meaning of 25 U.S.C. 465 and 2201(1) for land to be taken into trust on its behalf. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgments. View "Upstate Citizens for Equality v. United States" on Justia Law