GOVERNOR PATERSON AND ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCE LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN FEDERAL LAND INTO TRUST DECISION

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 19, 2008) – Governor David A. Paterson and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo jointly announced today that the Governor, the counties of Oneida and Madison, and State of New York have filed a lawsuit to overturn an administrative decision by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs authorizing the transfer of more than 13,000 acres of land in Oneida and Madison Counties from being taken into trust for the Oneida Indian Nation.

The State will argue that Secretary Kempthorne’s decision is unconstitutional, because New York State has continuously exercised jurisdiction over its lands since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the lands which are the subject of the land into trust decision, and has never consented to the removal of such land from State jurisdiction. The U.S. Constitution does not grant to the United States the authority to remove land from a State’s jurisdiction for the purpose of providing such land to an Indian tribe without first obtaining the consent of the affected State.

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