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Sioux sue

The Oglala Sioux tribe in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota say they have an alcoholism problem; one out of four infants born suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. So they've attempted regulations to keep the reservation dry, but that just creates an alcohol smuggling problem in addition to the alcoholism problem; in any event, any Indians wanting to drink can just go across the border to Nebraska. (Just as there are fireworks stores lying on the other side of state lines, and many casinos on the California-Nevada border, a small town of twelve on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is home to four beer stores.) This is, the tribe says in a $500 million lawsuit, not the fault of the Indians who keep drinking, or the Indians who smuggle alcohol into the reservation, but the fault of the major beer manufacturers and the Nebraska beer stores. How it is these companies' responsibility to prevent the legal sale of beer is beyond me; are they supposed to engage in racial profiling at the checkout counter? Refuse to sell to vendors near dry areas?

The case is Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting, No. 4:12-cv-03027-JMG-CRZ (D. Neb.). The attorneys are the named partners of the White, Jorgenson firm in Omaha, who are doing their clients a disservice if they are not taking this case on a contingent basis (and merely doing themselves and society a disservice if they are). I've posted the complaint online.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.