The Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the Tigua Tribe’s right to offer gambling on their El Paso land. Any declaration made by the Supreme Court could see an almost 30-year legal battle come to an end.
This news comes after the Court agreed to hear the Tigua’s appeal of a 5th Circuit decision made in 1994 that declared bingo-style games being operated at Speaking Rock Entertainment Center illegal. Since then, there have been a number of legal appeals, most recently in 2019.
Todd Curry, a political science professor at the University of Texas-El Paso, has spoken to El Paso Matters, suggesting the Tribe has a high chance of being successful before the Supreme Court.
“Since Gorsuch, I think to have someone who is an honest expert in these areas has made the voting more predictable. As the federal government is supporting the Tiguas, and Gorsuch has yet to vote against Indigenous interests since joining the court, I think the real question will be how big is the majority,” stated Curry.
“Justice Samuel Alito is the only one I don’t see as possibly supporting the Tiguas in the suit.”
For the appeal to be granted, four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices must agree to hear the Tribes argument. A decision is likely to be made in 2022.
Texas first outlawed all gaming activities on tribal land in 1987 via a federal law named the Restoration Act. This piece of legislation states: “All gaming activities which are prohibited by the laws of the State of Texas are hereby prohibited on the reservation and on lands of the tribe.”