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Supreme Court hears state’s case vs. Indian casino

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court seemed wary Monday about making any changes to tribal sovereignty laws as it considered whether Michigan can block a Native American casino.

Justices heard arguments from state officials who want to close the Bay Mills Indian Community’s casino about 90 miles south of its Upper Peninsula reservation. Michigan argues that the tribe opened the casino in 2010 without permission from the US government.

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The lower courts say they don’t have jurisdiction over parts of this argument and the tribe has sovereign immunity.

Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch says that if Michigan could sue a foreign country for opening an illegal business on state land, they should be able to sue to stop the casino.

In a separate matter Monday, the Supreme Court turned away a Christian university’s attempt to overturn a key part of the Obama administration’s health care law. The justices did not comment in leaving in place a ruling dismissing Liberty University’s lawsuit.

The Lynchburg, Va., school made several arguments in challenging the portion of the health care law that requires most employers to provide health insurance to their workers or pay a fine. The court is considering taking other cases on similar issues.

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