Tohono O'odham Nation Racks Up Another Legal Victory in Federal Court
U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell ruled today that the Tohono O'odham Nation's plan to build a West Valley casino is in compliance with the state's gaming compacts.
Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris
It's yet another legal victory to the tribe that has been heavily opposed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, state and federal lawmakers and many of its fellow Native American tribes, primarily the Gila River Indian Community.
Congressmen Trent Franks and Ed Pastor, among others, are supporting a bill aimed at simply keeping the Nation out of the West Valley -- where the GRIC own the only casino in the region.
See also: Trent Franks, Arizona Congressman, Proposes Narrow Special-Interest Measure to Block Tohono O'odham Nation's Proposed West Valley Casino See also: Wanna Bet? Wanna Bet? The Tohono O'odham Want to Build a Casino in the West Valley
It's yet another blow to opponents who have been screeching for years that the Nation's plans would violate a gaming compact voters approved in 2002.
In a press release issued earlier today, the Nation noted this was a tenth ruling in a string of legal victories for them, and that the brutal political fight is just a way for opponents "to protect their massive market share by delaying this important economic development project."
In his ruling, Judge Campbell stated that, "Written agreements matter" and applied that principle to this case stating that, "Parties who reach an accord, particularly on a matter as important and complicated as tribal gaming, carefully document their agreement in writing."
Judge Campbell's opinion eviscerates the opposition's claims, clearly stating "...that no reasonable reading of the Compact could lead a person to conclude that it prohibited new casinos in the Phoenix area."
The judge stated that the Compact itself was the ultimate decider of the issue at hand, quoting from the document itself:
"This compact contains the entire agreement of the parties . . . and no other statement, agreement, or promise made by any party, officer, or agent of any party shall be valid or binding."