WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't stop a lawsuit seeking to shut down a Native American casino in Michigan.
The high court on Monday upheld a lower court decision that would allow casino foe David Patchak to sue to shut the casino down.
The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, opened a casino in Wayland Township, 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. Patchak challenged how the government placed the land in trust for the tribe, saying that the move was illegal because the tribe had not been recognized by the government in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed.
A federal judge dismissed his lawsuit but the high court in an 8-1 ruling decided it could move forward. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissent.
Following the ruling, representatives for each side issued statements.
"The Supreme Court clearly stated that this decision was not based on the merits. This is simply a procedural decision that has no impact on operations at Gun Lake Casino. The Casino will continue to operate, employee over 800 area residents, and provide millions of dollars to state and local governments," said Tribal Chairman D.K. Sprague.
"We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed that Mr. Patchak is entitled to his day in court," said Matthew T. Nelson, a partner and chair of the Appellate Law Group at Warner Norcross who argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court. "We believe that once Mr. Patchak has his day in court, he will be vindicated. The government violated federal law by taking land into trust so the Gun Lake Band could operate a casino in Wayland."
Supreme Court ruling (pdf)
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