Law360 Quotes Gabe Galanda Re Bay Mills Imbroglio

Gabe Galanda is featured along with several leading Indian lawyers and scholars in a Law360 article about Bay Mills, just days prior to oral argument before the Supreme Court. In "Bay Mills Hinges On High Court's Loyalty To Precedent," Gabe is quoted as follows:

Several Indian law experts, however, do not believe the Bay Mills tribe — which was urged to drop its case to avoid the Supreme Court — stands a good chance, and they are concerned that the current court will use the case as an opportunity to veer sharply from the Kiowa ruling.

That's because in the Kiowa decision, the justices affirmed the tribal sovereign immunity doctrine, but they also had some less-than-encouraging words about the doctrine and asked Congress to look into making changes at the lawmaking level. Congress held several hearings after the ruling, but ultimately decided to take no action, experts note.

"In the Kiowa case, a prior Supreme Court made it very clear that they were uncomfortable about tribal sovereign immunity. ... I believe the court will now take occasion to do what it wanted to do in the late 1990s and abrogate tribal sovereign immunity," said Gabriel S. Galanda 
of Galanda Broadman PLLC.

*** [O]thers, however, are hoping that the high court ultimately rules that the state can find remedies under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The National Indian Gaming Commission, however, has so far declined to step in with a closure order that would officially shut down the Bay Mills casino for operating illegally on nontribal land. And the U.S. Department of Justice has likewise declined to step in and provide a remedy for Michigan.

"The absence of a federal remedy from the NIGC or DOJ to date will cause the justices to create the remedy for the state of Michigan, and it will be a remedy Indian country will not like," Galanda said, adding the case threatens to upset the delicate balance between state and tribal sovereign immunity. ***

As the case moves to arguments, attorneys rooting for both sides will be watching to see how broadly the sovereign immunity arguments are introduced, according to Rand. And while many believe, as Galanda points out, that the facts are not sympathetic for Indian country and that the tribe will be hard-pressed to win its case, other hold out hope.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or