Dewberry v. Kitzhaber summary judgment affirmed — Indian Casinos aren’t “in” Oregon

The latest—but probably not the last—chapter in a case that I’ve been working on for over 8 years, and that has been going on for over nearly 10 years (!), was written today.  In State ex rel Dewberry v. Kitzhaber, a group of citizens have been challenging the Oregon Governor’s ability to enter into casino compacts with Native Tribes.  I don’t like to blog on pending cases, so I will simply offer the following key passage of the Court’s rationale for upholding summary judgment against us based on whether the Governor has the authority to enter into casino compacts, despite the Oregon constitution’s prohibition on casinos:

The restriction on casinos in Article XV, section 4(10), applies to lands subject to state jurisdiction. We reject relators’ contention at oral argument that all lands—even Indian tribal lands—located within the exterior boundaries of Oregon are subject to state jurisdiction for purposes of Article XV, section 4(10). See, e.g., North Pacific Ins. Co. v. Switzler, 143 Or App 223, 233-34, 924 P2d 839 (1996) (tribal members who lived on the Warm Springs Reservation did not “reside” in Oregon for purposes of personal jurisdiction because tribes occupy their own territory “in which the laws of Oregon have no force” except with assent of tribes or “in conformity with treaties and acts of Congress” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

Slip op. at 22.  This has been an interesting case, with potential widespread impact.  The clients are going to decide whether to challenge this ruling further.  

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