Legal Alert - Supreme Court Decision May Make it Easier to Challenge IRA Land-Into-Trust Acquisitions
by Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier and Erin Szajna
On Monday, June 18, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 567 U.S. ___ (2012), which could dramatically impact the tribal land-into-trust acquisition process nationwide. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court held that an owner of real property (Patchak) near the Gun Lake Casino in Michigan had standing to challenge the Secretary of the Interior’s acquisition of land into trust on behalf of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Band). The Supreme Court concluded that the government had waived sovereign immunity and that Patchak had prudential standing to challenge the Secretary’s acquisition of the land.