The U.S. Supreme Court made a move Monday that may indicate it’s interested in deciding the fate of a northern Michigan casino.
The Vanderbilt Casino was opened quietly by the Bay Mills Indian Community in 2010, and it was shuttered temporarily the next year by a federal court order.
The Upper Peninsula tribe maintains it has the right to open and run the off-reservation casino without permission from the state and in September the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the tribe.
The state is appealing that ruling to the nation’s highest court.
“Today the Supreme Court did not say whether they would take our case, but they did ask the Obama Administration to respond. And consider that very promising,” says
Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “It shows they’re taking a serious look at our questions.”
U.S. Supreme Court justices are likely to use the opinion from the Obama Administration to decide whether they want to hear the case. If not, the Sixth Circuit ruling on behalf of the tribe will prevail.
The Vanderbilt Casino is widely viewed as a test case for the tribe, which has indicated interest in opening casinos in other towns, including Port Huron.