HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 20Issue 7Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Enters Stay in Lansing Casino Case

On Monday, February 24, 2013 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit entered an order which stayed proceedings in the matter involving theSault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ (“Tribe”) efforts to construct a casino in Lansing, Michigan (the “Order”).  The Order states that it was entered “…to allow the State of Michigan time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari” with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling on December 18, 2013, which reversed a previous District Court injunction that prevented the Tribe from applying to have certain lands in Lansing taken into trust for the purpose of constructing a casino.  The Sixth Circuit’s December decision to reverse this original injunction meant that the Tribe could move forward with its application to have the subject land taken into trust by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is one of many procedural steps that the Tribe is facing in opening a casino in Lansing  This mandate, however, was stayed by the Court’s Order entered on Monday.

Yesterday, the Tribe filed a motion to reconsider the Order, arguing, among other things, that the Sixth Circuit entered the Order before the Tribe had the opportunity to file a motion in opposition and without the benefit of an adversarial hearing.  In its motion, the Tribe also argues that “[r]econsideration of the Court’s order is warranted because the State has failed to establish that there is a reasonable possibility that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari to review this Court’s decision, or that the State would sufferirreparable harm absent such a stay. Further delay in this litigation, however, will unquestionably inflict significant, concrete harm on the Tribe.”  See Tribe’s Motion for Reconsideration, p. 1-2.  The Tribe goes on to explain that further delay in this matter will cause it significant harm as its agreement with the City of Lansing requires the Tribe to establish its right to engage in gaming activities on an initial parcel of property within the city by January 1, 2017, and further serves to effectively keep in place an injunction that the Sixth Circuit has already held was entered improperly.

The Sixth Circuit has not yet indicated if a hearing will be held on the Tribe’s motion for reconsideration. The Sixth Circuit’s Order provides that the stay will remain in place until the Supreme Court disposes of the case, but will be dissolved if the State of Michigan does not file its petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court within 90 days from the date of final judgment by the Sixth Circuit.     

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.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi have also filed amicus briefs with the Sixth Circuit supporting the State of Michigan’s position in the case.



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