Ballot question on allowing full-scale casino gambling in Rhode Island can go to voters
Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Melanie Thunberg has just issued her ruling in the judicial challenge brought by the Narragansett Indian Tribe that sought to block a vote in November to allow the Twin River and Newport Grand slot parlors to expand into full casinos.
The Tribe argued that the state was applying a double standard - that when the Tribe sought to develop a resort casino in Charlestown, the state applied far stricter standards than those it proposes to apply to expanded operations by Twin River and Newport Grand.
In this case, the Tribe asked the court to block the November 6 referendum. However, in her published opinion, Judge Thunberg ruled that "the Court cannot declare that the Tribe has sustained its very heavy burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt" that the state's actions violate the RI Constitution.
Click here to read the decision. Judge Thunberg's decision is an interesting read - she attempts to capture the history of the Tribe and the white settlers since before the time of Roger Williams to the present. She also seems to go out of her way to be respectful and deferential, calling the Narragansetts a "valorous people" in her Conclusion, for example.
But as my sainted grandmother used to say, respect and a historical essay and a quarter gets you a ten-cent cigar. I can't speak for the Tribe, but if it was me, I think I would have preferred to win the decision.