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Gun Lake Casino challenge going back to Supreme Court

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Gun Lake Casino challenge going back to Supreme Court

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear another challenge to the Gun Lake Tribe's autonomy over 147 acres on which the Gun Lake Casino has been built and operating since February 2011.

The challenge, being brought by Shelbyville resident David Patchak, argues that a 2104 law, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's separation of powers.

The law, signed by President Barack Obama, effectively ended a string of challenges to the federal land trust that allowed the tribe to build the casino near the Bradleyville exit of U.S. 131.

The Supreme Court announced Monday, May 1, that it has granted the case "certiorari," meaning it will hear the case during its next term.

"Persuading the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in any case is an uphill battle - and particularly so absent a split among the lower courts," said Scott Gant, Patchak's Washington lawyer in a press release.

"We're pleased the Court granted review, and look forward to briefing the merits and oral argument before the Court."

Tribal officials, who are planning to open a $70 million expansion that will nearly double the size of the casino this Wednesday, May 3, said they were unconcerned by the announcement.

"The Tribe is eager to argue the merits of the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act before the U.S. Supreme Court," said Chairman Scott Sprague in a statement. 

This will mark the second time Patchak has been heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2012, the high court voted 8-1 to allow Patchak's case against the casino to move forward in the lower courts.

The Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and signed by Obama in October 2014, effectively ended the dispute because it barred any future claims against the trust which allowed the tribe to operate the casino at 1123 129th Ave. in Wayland Township.

With stroke of Obama's pen, threat of closure at Gun Lake Casino finally ends

A land-in-trust is crucial for casino operations because if the land cannot be held in trust by the government, it is ineligible for Class III games like slot machines, blackjack, craps and roulette.

If Patchak's legal team convinces the high court that the act short-circuited his rights under the principle of separation of powers, the case would return to the federal district court, where the challenge was being heard.

Patchak, a former Wayland Township trustee, first challenged the U.S. Department of Interior's authority to take land into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe in 2008 after previous lawsuits opposing construction of the casino failed.

The Shelbyville resident, who claimed the casino traffic would lower his property value and bring pollution, crime and divert the rural area's municipal resources, has been backed by anonymous donors and represented by numerous law firms over the years.

The $70 million expansion that will be unveiled Wednesday will add nearly 500 slot machines, bringing the total number of machines at the casino to nearly 2,100. An additional high stakes table area will be added after the expansion is complete.

Gun Lake Casino expansion to include 20,000-square-foot buffet

Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNGrOb8MSGWfqyL-fznF_voZ6i6yog&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779478838970&ei=QwQIWejcN4-ihgHS35QI&url=http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2017/05/gun_lake_casino_challenge_reap.html

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