By Robert W. Stocker II

In an order issued on February 24, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a stay of its decision in State of Michigan v. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Sixth Circuit Case No. 13-1438), in which the Sixth Circuit had rejected a request by the State of Michigan to halt development of a very controversial off-reservation casino in Lansing (Michigan’s capital city). The stay was granted to allow the State of Michigan time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court and continues in effect until the United States Supreme Court disposes of the case. The State is required to file its petition for a writ of certiorari within 90 days of the final judgment entered by the Sixth Circuit in the case. The State of Michigan’s challenge of the off-reservation casino developed by the Bay Mills Indian Community in Vanderbilt, Michigan (State of Michigan and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians v. Bay Mills Indian Community (Sixth Circuit Case No. 11-1413)) was argued before the United States Supreme Court late last year, with a decision from the Court expected this spring. While both cases could be disposed of on procedural grounds, they also present the Supreme Court with the opportunity to weigh in on both Indian tribal developments of off-reservation casinos under Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 USC 2701, et seq., and the status of federally recognized Indian tribes as sovereign nations with sovereign immunity rights.