5/1/2014 - May 2014 SLI Newsletter
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The most important thing we can be doing right now is to be paying attention to what candidates for public office are telling us. We will be voting for many elected positions on June 3rd. SLI does not campaign for or endorse candidates or political parties. However, whether in the courts or the Legislature, our work is related to issues created by elected officials. Our Educational Update this month calls us, as citizens and voters, to be responsive to the needs of Alabama and America.
You probably read brief news reports that a federal court has ruled against the State of Alabama in its attempt to stop unlimited Indian gambling in Alabama. The news media does not seem to care much about the issue, but it is serious and the ruling of the court, we believe, is incorrect.
The state filed suit to enjoin gambling at the Poarch Creek Indian casinos in Elmore, Escambia and Montgomery Counties. We have reported on several occasions the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in the Carcieri case, finding that Indian tribes not recognized in 1934 could not have trust lands which are exempt from state laws, such as those prohibiting gambling. The Poarch Indians were not recognized until 1984. The federal district court in Montgomery ducked the substantive issue of the legality of Indian gambling in Alabama, by saying that decision was for another day, ruling that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and other procedural obstacles take away the ability of the state to enforce its own laws. Therefore, the Indians have immunity from Alabama criminal and civil laws.
The state argued every plausible rationale for the court to stop Indian gambling. The court went out of its way time and again to void those arguments. What is clear is that the Indians are operating casino gambling not just bingo, taking millions of dollars out of the state economy and the pockets of families who can least afford to pay.
We were greatly encouraged when Attorney General Luther Strange announced he would take this action. We are disappointed in the court’s ruling, but we know the Attorney General will be appealing this ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. We are hopeful that court will set the record straight and give the state the ability to prohibit clearly unlawful acts. Please send a note to Attorney General Strange (P. O. Box 300152, Montgomery, AL 36130-0152) thanking him for his efforts and encouraging him to continue.
Thank you for the encouragement you give us. We receive financial support from you and we appreciate that. We receive many words of encouragement for our activities. As the summer months come upon us, our contributions will fall off. Please remember us and refer others to us and we will add them to our mailing list.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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