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Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians owns and operates the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan. Photo: Gun Lake Casino

The U.S. Supreme Court will once again consider a petition in a long-running gaming land case.

The justices relisted Patchak v. Zinke for their conference this Friday, according to Docket No. 16-498. They did not take action on the petition after their April 21 conference so the case remains unresolved.

At issue is whether David Patchak, a non-Indian man who lives three miles from the casino owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, can sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs long after the gaming site in Michigan was placed in trust. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that he can't because Congress, through S.1603, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, confirmed that the land is in trust.

Patchak wants the Supreme Court to overturn the decision, saying the law is unfair. The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, and the Trump administration have urged the justices to reject his petition.

An answer from the court is expected next week although another delay is possible. No reason for the delay associated with the April 21 conference was provided.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Patchak v. Jewell (July 15, 2016)

U.S. Supreme Court Decision:
Patchak v. Jewell (June 18, 2012)

Prior D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Patchak v. Salazar (January 21, 2011)

Related Stories:
Supreme Court takes no action on long-running tribal land case (April 24, 2017)
Supreme Court declines to hear yet another Indian Country case (April 17, 2017)
Trump team gets more time in Supreme Court tribal casino case (February 27, 2017)
Federal appeals court backs Gun Lake Tribe land-into-trust law (July 15, 2016)