"That big, flashing green light that Mayor Bernero and Chairman Payment spoke about just turned into a brick wall," said James Nye, the spokesman for the coalition opposed to the casino. He believes Judge Robert Jonker's decision fell in their favor and against the project. "Clearly thought that the other tribes have standing because of the provision of the gaming compact, which requires all tribes to agree to an off reservation casino."
But the tribe doesn't see it that way.
"The only thing this ruling does is it says that we cannot file our application to take land into trust with the federal government until the lawsuit is fully litigated. That's all this ruling says," said Robert Martin, spokesman for the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Martin says there is nothing in the decision mandating them to do anything with other tribes.
MSU Law Professor Matthew Fletcher believes it lies somewhere in the middle. He believes the case will continue to trial and it will come down to whether or not a section of the 1993 gaming compact does in fact need the approval of the other tribes. "It's going to be right down in the trenches. They're going to litigate this thing on what Section 9 means and that's where we are," said Fletcher.
The Sault Ste. Marie tribe assures the cost of the trial won't fall on the taxpayer.