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Michigan Casino Gets Backing Of Several Supreme Court Members

Casino gambling has become a reality on the Gun Lake Tribe reservation in Michigan, and Supreme Court justices will not get in the way of the opening. The casino is the subject of a lawsuit brought on by David Patchak, who is advocating that the land the casino will be placed on was placed in trust by error.

Patchak launched the lawsuit, but it was not received well in the court of law. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that Patchak's claims were not enough to move the lawsuit forward. It was a blow to the anti-gaming groups that were hoping to stop the opening of the casino.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court justices weighed in with their take on the lawsuit, and again it was bad news for those who want the casino closed.

"It does seem that we may be wasting our time," said Justice Anthony Kennedy, as reported by the Associated Press. "I'm not suggesting that the ...case is moot, but you did wait for some three years before you brought this suit. The building was built."

Patchak built his lawsuit around the idea that the casino would bring down the quality of living around the area where the casino was built. The justices rejected that as a strong enough reason to move forward with such a lawsuit. Patchak's attorney remains consistent in his belief that the lawsuit is warranted, on the basis that the land was put in trust by error.

"In spite of the knowledge of this Court's decision in Carcieri, they made a reasonable business decision to move forward with this, knowing the risk that they were taking that the entire basis of them being able to operate a casino and engage in class 3 gambling could be overturned," said Attorney Matthew T. Nelson.

The tribe and the government have stood by the defense that land trust issues are not reviewable by law, and that lawsuits requesting review of the land trust issues should remain out of the court systems in the US.

"The United States has not waived its sovereign immunity from suits challenging its title to Indian trust lands," said Justice Department Attorney Eric D. Miller.

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