Telebriefing: Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community

June 17, 2014

Law Seminars International

Ed Gehres, chair of the firm's Native American and tribal business practice and a practitioner representing tribal business in transactions, litigation, and government affairs, will moderate an upcoming LSI Telebriefing on the Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community ruling. 

The Supreme Court's May 29, 2014 decision in the matter of Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community is being widely hailed as a landmark victory for Indian Country and Tribal business interests in gaming and beyond. In the aftermath of this fascinating opinion, scholars and practitioners have begun to reckon with what this opinion means for Bay Mills specifically and tribes in general. 

The State of Michigan asked the justices to modify existing precedent on tribal sovereign immunity to authorize a lawsuit directly against the tribe for its operation of a casino that is not on Indian trust lands. The majority's robust opinion and the thorough concurrence by Justice Sotomayor reaffirm the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity in a language that the Court rarely, if ever, uses to address Tribal sovereignty and its attributes. However, the Court was deeply divided at 5-4, and not along clear political or ideological lines. The dissenting opinions reveal the stark difference one vote made in this case, as Indian Country faced the prospect of a change in legal doctrine that would have redefined the very nature of tribes' constitutional attributes.


For more information and to register for the telebriefing, please click here.

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