Oneidas: Land trust opponents dealt "severe blow"

By WKTV News

VERONA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A U.S. District Court judge has upheld the constitutionality of the Oneida Indian Nation putting 13,000 acres of its land into trust, according to a news release sent out by the Oneidas.

The news release states that on March 1, Judge Lawrence E. Kahn ruled that putting land into trust in New York state is constitutional. The lawsuit was brought on by Assemblyman David Townsend, Oneida County Legislator Michael Hennessy and the Central NY Fair Business Association.

The federal court dismissed several of Hennessy's and Townsend's challenges including:

*rejecting claims that the law authorizing the Department of Interior to take land into trust for the benefit of the Oneida Indian Nation is unconstitutional

*reaffirming that the Oneida Nation's 300,000 acre reservation was never disestablished

*rejecting claims that gaming at Turning Stone is being conducted illegally on non-Indian lands

Hennessy said he had not yet seen the decision but commented that they have always had difficulty with the lower federal courts. He believed they would have much better success if they could get their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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