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Settle the legal issue Request for expedited casino ruling ought to be heeded by federal court

Recently, Citizens for a Better Buffalo and others opposed to the Seneca Nation's Buffalo casino filed court papers asking U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny to expedite a decision. The sooner this issue is settled, the better for everyone concerned, and especially for Buffalo.

At present, the Senecas are proceeding full speed ahead into an uncertain future and casino opponents, despite setbacks, are trying to apply the brakes. But what's really driving this issue is the court case that seeks a ruling on whether or not the downtown site now is sovereign land and thus usable immediately for casino development, and an injunction request that would block casino operations. The court should move with all deliberate speed to settle that.

Skretny, a good federal judge fully capable of determining how "deliberate" that speed must be, got this hot potato back when the National Indian Gaming Commission issued a decision, shortly before the Fourth of July, in favor of the Senecas, who quickly opened the doors to a temporary facility. Gamblers ratified that decision in droves.

But this isn't a popularity contest, it's a legal one. Opposition group lead attorney Joseph M. Finnerty filed new papers and a motion to expedite. The issues have been briefed and argued, making that a practical request. It's important that the federal court gets this right, but if that decision also can be fast-tracked it would bring resolution a major step closer for the Senecas, their legal opponents and the city.

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