By Robert F. Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
Voters can be forgiven if they think they’re getting mixed signals about the importance of going to the polls. Examples:
In Missouri earlier this month, 71 percent of the voters approved Proposition C, which would prohibit the government from enforcing any requirement that everyone purchase health insurance. The voters’ verdict was immediately dismissed as “meaningless.”
In California, more than seven million voters – 52.2 percent — approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Now a federal judge has ruled that such a definition violates the U.S. Constitution.
Florida voters have had similar experiences. Repeatedly they’ve overwhelmingly opposed allowing more casino gambling, and they’ve even elected state officials who pledged to oppose the spread of gambling. The net result: More casinos than ever before.
Worse, a sneaky effort in Congress to insert a “rider” in an appropriations bill could pave the way for even more casinos. As a Sacramento Bee editorial reports, “At the behest of Indian tribes and their lobbyists, some members of Congress are seeking a ‘fix’ to a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that cast doubt on the federal government’s authority to permit some bands of Indians to create new reservation land.“In Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri v. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, the court held that the Interior Department can take land into trust on behalf of tribes only if those tribes were under federal jurisdiction as of 1934, when Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act.”The proposed rider could speed federal recognition of new tribes. Therefore, if this sneak attack succeeds, expect more Indian reservations with full-service casinos to pop up in the name of previously unrecognized “tribes” – even in areas where the voters overwhelming oppose casinos. You can bet on it.