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Column: Supreme Court case doesn't bode well for tribal gaming

Filed Under: Litigation | Opinion
More on: bay mills, immunity, michigan, off-reservation, supreme court
Columnist doesn't think the U.S. Supreme Court will be kind to Indian gaming after hearing Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community on Monday:
I dare say that one could extrapolate from the testimony and the justices’ questions that Chief Justice John Roberts and the court majority are on the hunt to do some serious damage to Indian Country’s Holy Grail: tribal sovereign immunity, which basically enables the tribes to operate as “dependent” sovereign nations within America.

Surprisingly, the legal concept of tribal sovereign immunity does not exist in the U.S. Constitution nor has Congress ever created such a right. This special legal status so sacred to the 430-plus American Indian tribes was created by the lower federal courts more than 20 years ago.

Indians fear this extraordinary legal status the federal courts granted them now will be taken away. The suspicion points to a court looking to use Michigan vs. Bay Mills to take a bite out of their special legal status.

That the Supreme Court took up this case at all implies its justices have an agenda not helpful to Bay Mills. After all, the Upper Peninsula tribe won its case in a lower federal court, and even the U.S. solicitor general had advised the court not to take the case. If not to overturn Bay Mills’ victory, why bother?

Get the Story:
Cliff Schrader: High court doesn't bode well for Bay Mills, Indian rights (The Port Huron Times Herald 12/5)

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Order List | Docket Sheet No. 12-515

6th Circuit Decision:
Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (August 15, 2012)

Related Stories:
Turtle Talk: Commentary on arguments in Bay Mills casino case (12/3)
Supreme Court ruling in Bay Mills casino suit expected in spring (12/3)

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