State, town react to Wampanoag Supreme Court filing

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The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to review the case involving a gambling hall on tribe land in Aquinnah.

Final arguments have been filed before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case involving the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and its pursuit of a bingo hall in its community center.

The final documents were filed Monday, and the case is now in the hands of the court.

In its final brief, the commonwealth, the town, and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association reaffirm their belief that the nation’s highest court should intervene and block the tribe’s plan for a Martha’s Vineyard gambling hall.

The two main reasons at hand remain the conflicting decisions in two appeals courts, as well as the assertion that the decision in the First Circuit Court of Appeals that favored the Wampanoag tribe failed to properly consider implied repeals.

At issue is the tribe’s assertion that it has the right to provide Indian gambling on reservation lands as a result of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The town, state, and community group counter that the 1987 settlement agreement prohibits gambling on those lands and remains in effect, even with the passage of the federal gambling law.

The filing comes on the heels of the tribe’s opposition to the Supreme Court review earlier this month.

It remains a long shot whether the justices will hear the case. The Supreme Court takes only about 1 percent of the cases it’s asked to hear each year.