New Mexico ex rel. Clark v. Johnson

904 P.2d 11 (2017)

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New Mexico ex rel. Clark v. Johnson

New Mexico Supreme Court
904 P.2d 11 (2017)

Facts

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) authorized class III casino-style games on Indian lands if approved by tribal-state compact, and the State of New Mexico (plaintiff) permitted the games on non-Indian land “for any purpose.” The governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson (defendant) negotiated a tribal-state compact authorizing all forms of “casino-style” gaming on tribal lands located in the state. The governor argued that his actions were authorized under IGRA based on a state law that permitted nonprofit organizations to conduct a lottery twice a year for charitable purposes. The governor argued that the casino-style games authorized by the compact fell within the broad statutory definition of “lottery” as a pool of participants paying for “an opportunity to win a prize, the award of which is determined by chance.” State law also criminalized making a bet, which was statutorily defined as a bargain between parties dependent primarily on chance from which one stands to win or lose something of value. The New Mexico Legislature filed an action for writ of mandamus from the state supreme court determining that the governor’s unilateral actions exceeded his authority under principles of separation of powers and prohibiting the compact from taking effect.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Minzner, J.)

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