California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

PETITIONER: California
RESPONDENT: Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
LOCATION: Riverside County

DOCKET NO.: 85-1708
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 480 US 202 (1987)
ARGUED: Dec 09, 1986
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1987

ADVOCATES:
Glenn M. Feldman - on behalf of the appellees
Roderick E. Walston - for petitioner
Roderick Eugene Walston - Supervising Deputy Attorney General of California, on behalf of the appellants

Facts of the case

Two federally recognized Indian Tribes had reservation land within Riverside County, California where they conducted bingo and card games open to non- Indians. The gambling industry provided employment to many Indians on the reservation, and most clients were non-Indians. The State of California wanted to apply state gambling laws to reservation gaming and Riverside County wanted to apply local ordinances. Together, these laws would ban the card games and put charitable organizations in charge of bingo games. The Tribes claimed that the imposition of gambling laws by the state government violated their sovereignty. They brought suit against the state of California and Riverside County in federal district court. The district court ruled that neither the state nor the county had the authority to regulate gambling on reservation land. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Question

Do state and local governments have the authority to regulate gambling conducted on Indian reservation land?

Media for California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1986 in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 25, 1987 in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinions of the Court on No. 85-1708, California versus Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, and No. 85-6461, Martin against Ohio will be announced by Justice White.

Byron R. White:

In the Cabazon Case which is here from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth circuit, we affirm the judgment of that court and remand the case.

Justice Stevens has filed the dissenting opinion; Justices O'Connor and Scalia have joined that opinion.