NY Legislature has no power to authorize casinos

First US Constitutional Convention

First US Constitutional Convention


Memo from Cornelius Murray, Esq.    20 June 2013   sent earlier today to journalists interested in New York State government

Re Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013


Art I section 9 of the Constitution CURRENTLY states that, except for circumstances not pertinent here, no gambling shall be AUTHORIZED or allowed and the Legislature is mandated by the very same provision in the Constitution to “pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provision of this section.”

Yet the bill that will most likely pass the Legislature tomorrow does exactly the opposite. It purports to authorize such gambling with an elaborate regulatory scheme.  To be sure, the last paragraph states that it will become effective only if and when the Constitutional Amendment passes.  But it hasn’t, and until it does, the current sitting Legislature can’t pass a bill to take effect in the future on the supposition that the Amendment will be approved by the voters in November.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m fully cognizant of the fact that a Legislature can pass bills to take effect in the future and does so all the time.  But that occurs where the Legislature has the power to act on a given subject to begin with.  Here it has no such power.  The Legislature can get into the business of authorizing and regulating casino gambling only after the People authorize it to do so, which won’t/can’t happen – if at all—until November.  If and when it does, then the Legislature would have the power to act.  But it can’t put the proverbial cart before the horse.  The Legislature has no power to act to authorize gambling currently prohibited by the Constitution.  It is – at least I hope it is – axiomatic that a Legislature can only exercise such power as the People give it.

Imagine if you will that the Legislature in its infinite wisdom (don’t laugh too hard) decided that slavery ought to be reinstated and passed laws now to regulate it which would take effect in the future once the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution and the corresponding prohibition in our State Constitution were repealed.

Cornelius Murray, Esq.  was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Dalton v. Pataki

http://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/GPB-33-UPSTATE-MEMO.pdf is a 4-page outline of Program Bill 33.  The whole bill is more than 220 pages

The picture shows the first US Constitutional Convention, not a NYS one.  credit Robinphillips.blogspot.com

Buying Silence


West Canada Creek 8648883400_05b7c72b4bwestcanada

West Canada Creek 8648883400_05b7c72b4bwestcanada











     NYS  Legislature should not approve the  pact between NYS and the Oneidas  

     The provisional deal (ref.  6, below) of 16 May between the State and the Oneida Nation of Indians, if not literally vote-buying, is arrant influence-peddling. Dead set on adding   commercial casinos to his legacy for New York, Gov. Cuomo has sold  out the rights of several parties for the contracted silence of the Nation about  his proposed “casino amendment.”  Those  non-ONI parties, historically discordant,  differ on why they object to the pact.   They agree it is a bad deal for everyone except the ONI.  Casino promoters elsewhere could also benefit; so might some residents of the proposed ten-county exclusivity area who sensibly  don’t want another casino close to home but myopically  don’t mind it somewhere else.  

     The county governments of Oneida and Madison Counties have acceded to the pact, under duress.  (ref. 2)  The NYS Legislature, the Attorney General  and the Federal Government must also approve it.  There are good grounds why they should not.

     Opposition to all or some terms of the pact has come from the Cayuga Nation (ref. 5); from traditional Iroquois besides Cayugas (ref. 1); from the Conservative Party of NY; from Republican Assembly Member Claudia Tenney (ref. 3) ; and from the towns of Vernon and Verona.  (ref. 5)  For most of these entities, however,   the implications for expanding predatory gambling are not  the crux of their opposition.   

     To the Coalition Against Gambling in New York (CAGNY), a statewide organization, it is obvious that the  pact was crafted  just to prevent  the ONI  from using its money to fight the “casino amendment,”  some outcomes of which could bring  competition to Turning Stone.  CAGNY totally opposes the proposed amendment.  We thus oppose the ONI pact,  which if ratified at all levels would make passage of the amendment more likely than  if the  ONI were against it.  Our dismay with the pact, however,  is  less that it could smooth the path to more casinos in the state than that it gives further evidence our  Governor will stop at nothing  to gain his ends by any means.    

     To paraphrase  Cornelius Murray,  Esq. , attorney for Verona and Vernon, as he spoke  in a press conference on June 4, “This is not about gambling.  It’s about Constitutional law.”  Mr. Murray’s concerns about the law are detailed in his letter to the NYS Attorney General (link in ref. 5).    This is not a “win-win.”  It’s a “win big-lose big.”

     Read further  for brief summary of the proposed terms of the pact is below and for the listed references.

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