In Massachusetts, efforts by local and state officials to stop the Wampanoag Tribe Of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from establishing a gambling operation on the island of Martha’s Vineyard have reportedly been dealt a severe blow after a federal court refused to hear an appeal against the tribe.
According to a report from the local Vineyard Gazette newspaper, the island town of Aquinnah had joined with the state and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association to petition the six-judge United States Court Of Appeals For The First Circuit to hear their appeal against an April ruling from the Boston-based court that authorized the Wampanoag Tribe Of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to operate a Class II gaming facility.
However, in a one sentence order issued on Wednesday, the full court reportedly revealed that it would not be considering this latest appeal against the federally-recognized tribe and also declared that its subordinate three-judge panel had also denied a request for a re-hearing.
The Vineyard Gazette reported that the decision means that opponents of a plan from the Wampanoag Tribe Of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to bring electronic bingo terminals to its 6,500 sq ft community center on the island now have only one remaining option, an appeal to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
However, the United States Supreme Court hears only about 1% of the over 7,000 petitions it receives every year although local town counselor Ronald Rappaport reportedly explained that Aquinnah’s selectmen had already authorized just such an appeal and have until August 8 to formally ask the court to review the case.
“Our clear objective is to ask the United States Supreme Court to accept the case and that is what we are devoting our energy to,” Rappaport told the Vineyard Gazette.
In a statement, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Chairman for the Wampanoag Tribe Of Gay Head (Aquinnah), proclaimed that she was “ecstatic” at the court’s latest decision and called it a “great day for our tribe”.
“Maybe now they will stop fighting us and wasting everyone’s valuable time and resources,” read the statement from Andrews-Maltais. “However if not, we are and remain prepared to continue to defend our rights.”