Opinion: Indian Country can't declare victory after casino case

Attorney says the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community can't be seen as a complete victory for tribal interests.
Michigan essentially proffered three theories to overturn the Sixth Circuit. First, Michigan argued that IGRA should be interpreted to allow the suit because the Bay Mills tribal officials authorized and supervised the gaming that occurred on the lands in question from the tribe’s reservation, which is considered Indian land under IGRA. The state claims that such authorization and supervision constitutes “gaming activity” on Indian lands, even though the facility is not located on Indian lands.

Second, the state argued that the Court should adopt a “holistic method” of interpreting IGRA, which would allow a state to sue a tribe for illegal gaming whether the gaming occurred on or off Indian lands.

Finally, the state argued that the Court should revisit its holding in Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma v. Manufacturing Technologies and rule that tribes “have no immunity for illegal commercial activity” outside of Indian lands.

In its decision, the Court easily dispenses with Michigan’s first two theories of statutory interpretation, and the dissent does not take issue with the majority’s conclusions.

With regard to Michigan’s request that the Court reverse the Kiowa precedent, it is here that the majority and minority have placed their bets.

Get the Story:
Markham Erickson: Michigan draws a bottom pair, but Indian Country does not have a straight flush (SCOTUSBlog 5/28)

More Legal Analysis:
Christine L. Swanick and Wilda Wahpepah: U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (The National Law Review 5/28)
Richard B. Katskee and Brian D. Netter: Supreme Court Decision Alert - May 27, 2014 (Mondaq.com 5/28)
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Supreme Court Decision:
Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community (May 27, 2014)

Oral Arguments on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

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

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

Related Stories:
Supreme Court backs Bay Mills in off-reservation gaming case (5/27)
Turtle Talk: Tribes dodge a major bullet in Supreme Court case (5/27)

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