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Governor Kevin Stitt asked the federal judge overseeing the tribal gaming compact lawsuit to rule on Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s official opinion on governor negotiations with tribes.
House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to take over that decision. The Legislative Leaders believe Stitt made a mistake in filing the motion in federal court, because it deals with state law.
“Federal judges decide matters of federal law, not matters of state law, and at issue is a matter of state law. Asking federal judges to decide a matter of state law is a dangerous intrusion into states’ rights,” said Treat.
“This filing is about much more than gaming compacts. It is a federalism filing to protect states’ rights and the rule of law,” said McCall. “While we have all due respect for the federal courts, this is not a question for the federal courts to decide.”
“If Oklahoma cedes authority to a federal judge on this matter, it risks ceding to a federal judge on any other state matter. I am confident that this was not the governor’s intent, but we cannot allow that to happen. The federal government has already usurped too many issues that belong at the state level. This is a chance to protect power ‘reserved to the States’ and stand up for the sovereignty and authority of all areas of Oklahoma state government,” Treat said.