HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 19Issue 276th Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments in Lansing Casino Case

On Wednesday, October 2, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting in Cincinnati, Ohio, heard oral arguments in the matter involving the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ (“Sault Tribe”) plans to open a tribal casino in Lansing, Michigan.  The Sault Tribe is currently appealing a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on March 5, 2013, which effectively froze any further meaningful development in the Sault Tribe’s Lansing casino plans. It is unknown when the 6thCircuit will issue its decision in this matter.

The Sault Tribe is proposing to invest $245 Million in building and operating a 125,000 square foot “Kewadin Lansing Casino,” which would be located at Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street in downtown Lansing on property adjacent to the Lansing Center.

At issue is whether the Sault Tribe can apply to have certain parcels of property in Lansing taken into trust by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior before it obtains written revenue sharing agreements with the other federally recognized Indian Tribes in Michigan pursuant to Section 9 of the Sault Tribe’s Tribal-State Gaming Compact with the State of Michigan. Having this land taken into trust is one of the required steps that a Native American tribe must take in order to open a casino pursuant to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Sault Tribe has argued, among other things, that its plans are nonetheless allowable under the provisions of 1997 Michigan Indian Lands Claims Settlement Act, while the State of Michigan has argued that the injunction issued by the District Court should be upheld.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi have also filed amicus briefs with the Court of Appeals arguing that the District Court’s injunction should be affirmed.

 

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