Feds: Bruning lacks standing in casino lawsuit

Chris Rizo Jul. 25, 2008, 2:55pm

Jon Bruning (R)

OMAHA, Neb. (Legal Newsline)-Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning lacks standing to bring a lawsuit to block construction of a casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, federal officials said in court papers.

The U.S. Justice Department's argument against Bruning is simple: He represents Nebraska, and Carter Lake is in Iowa.

"Allowing Nebraska to challenge activities that occur in Carter Lake ... would essentially make the state boundary irrelevant," government lawyers said in a 26-page response to Bruning's lawsuit.

Bruning said the federal government is not taking into account the geography of Carter Lake, which lies between downtown Omaha and the city's Eppley Airfield. The casino land, he said, lies on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River.

Bruning filed the lawsuit in January, after federal regulators ruled that the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska could pursue gambling on five acres of land it owns in Carter Lake.

"If they put a casino there, we'd have to deal with it whether we want to or not," Bruning said when filing the lawsuit. "You could say that's true about the casinos that are in Council Bluffs now, but you don't have to go through Nebraska to get to those casinos."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department said the National Indian Gaming "reasonably and correctly found" that the Ponca tribe had the right to build a casino on its Carter Lake land.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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