State ex rel Dewberry v. Kitzhaber

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tribal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-14-2013
  • Case #: A146366
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The Governor has broad powers to enter into tribal-state gaming compacts with various Native American tribes residing in Oregon.

A number of local landowners near Florence, OR, contested the Governor's signature on a state-tribe gaming compact pursuant to 25 USC 2701 that would enable the tribe to build a casino in the Florence area. The landowners argued that the power to enter into such an agreement properly lied with the Legislature, and not the Governor. The Court relied on ORS 190.110 to find broad authority for the Governor to enter into such a compact without the formal approval of the Legislature prior. Next, the landowners argued that even if the Governor possessed the power to approve a state-tribal gaming compact that any agreement must be devoid of new casinos within the geographic boundaries of the state pursuant to Article XV, section 4(10) of the Oregon Constitution which prohibits the Legislative assembly from approving new casino construction, thus making the Governor's approval unconstitutional. Here, the Court relied on Oregon Supreme Court precedent to find that Article XV, section 4(10) applied only to state, and not tribal, owned lands. In conclusion, the Court found the actions of the Governor appropriate and affirmed the lower court holding. Affirmed.

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