Edward A. Lowe

Document Type



The Indian Tribes of the United States occupy an often ambiguous place in our legal system, and nowhere is that ambiguity more pronounced than in the realm of state taxation. States are, for the most part, preempted from taxing the Indian Tribes, but something unique happens when the state attempts to levy a tax on non-Indian vendors employed by a Tribe for work on a reservation. The state certainly has a significant justification for imposing its tax on non-Indians, but at what point does the non-Indian vendor’s relationship with the Tribe impede the state’s right to tax? What happens when the taxed activity is a sale to the Tribe? And what does it mean when the taxed activity has connections to Indian Gaming? This Comment explores three preemption standards as they were interpreted by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case between the State of Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. In deciding whether preemption was the legally required outcome, the Court looked to and applied the landmark preemption analysis case White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, the Indian Trader Statutes, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. While more than one legally correct outcome exists in this case, this Comment endorses and argues in favor of preemption based on the application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the preemption analysis required by Bracker.