Jenner & Block

NCAI Files Amicus Brief Supporting Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Property Tax Dispute

On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Jenner & Block filed an amicus in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, supporting the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its property-tax dispute with Riverside County, California.  NCAI’s brief argues that statutes Congress enacted under the Constitution’s Territory Clause preempt California’s possessory-interest tax on Agua Caliente Indian trust lands.

“The Territory Clause is a constitutional provision that too often is overlooked in Indian-law cases,” said Partner Sam Hirsch, co-leader of the firm’s Indian-law work. “But it is nevertheless an important source of Congress’s authority to regulate — and preempt state taxation of — Indian lands.”

In addition to Mr. Hirsch, Associates James Dawson and Leonard R. Powell, a member and former elected leader of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, represent NCAI in this matter.