TREAT v. STITT, 2021 OK 3 (Treat II)

Opinion:TREAT v. STITT, 2021 OK 3  (Treat II)
Subject matter: Tribal gaming compacts; separation of powers
Date Decided:January 26, 2021
Trial Court:N/A
Route to this Court:Original jurisdiction
Facts:The Senate President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House asked the Court to declare two new tribal gaming compacts between the State and the United Keetoowah Bank of Cherokee Indians and the State and the Kialegee Tribal Town invalid under Oklahoma law. The Court had previously declared similar compacts with two other tribes invalid because they authorized certain forms of Class III gaming prohibited by state law. See Treat v. Still, 2020 OK 64 (“Treat I”). The compacts at issue in this case were entered into while Treat I was pending. 
Standard of Review:N/A
Analysis:The Court invoked its publici juris doctrine to assume original jurisdiction to deal with an issue of public interest in urgent need of judicial determination. For tribal gaming compacts to be valid, they must be negotiated within the bounds of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact or with the approval of the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations. In this case, they were not. 
Outcome:Declaratory relief sought by Petitioners is granted as the Executive branch, as in Treat I, did not validly enter into new tribal gaming compacts. 
Vote:Opinion authored by Winchester, J. Concur: Darby, V.C.J., Kauger (by separate writing), Combs, Gurich, JJ. and Reif, S.J. (sitting by special designation). Concur in result: Rowe (by separate writing). Dissent: Kane, C.J. Recused: Edmonson and Colbert, JJ.
Other: The tribes were not parties in the case as they are sovereign nations and did not submit to the jurisdiction of the Court. The concurring opinion written by Kauger (joined by Combs and Gurich) states that “the framers of the Oklahoma Constitution intentionally created a weak state chief executive…[who] may exercise only the power specifically granted by the Legislature.” J. Kauger’s concurring opinion contrasts the power of the U.S. President over all of the executive branch with that of our Governor, whose power over the executive branch is limited because the Legislature has split the executive authority of the state amongst many separate offices, boards and commissions over which the Governor does not have direct control.