NEW JERSEYS SUPREME COURT SPORTS BETTING APPEAL HEATING UP (Update)
Five other states and three action groups sign up in support in amicus submissions.
New Jerseys probably final throw of the sports betting legalization dice – its appeal to the US Supreme Court – has seen a surge of support this week from three civil liberties groups and five other states in amicus briefs seeking involvement against the national sports leagues and their support of the restrictive federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
The three policy groups are the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute in Support of Petitioners, whilst the states of West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Arizona have filed a joint brief in support of New Jersey in the sports betting case, which New Jersey filed with SCOTUS last month .
The SCOTUS appeal follows years of litigation and opposition from the national sports leagues to the wider liberalization of sports betting, in which New Jersey has thus far enjoyed no success.
The SCOTUS appeal against the latest adverse ruling from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals is being closely monitored by US states and the American Gaming Association, which has switched to a policy of seeking a more widely available sports betting industry.
Leading Florida legal academic Professor Ryan Rodenburg has also filed an amicus brief on the issue, arguing that PASPA grants unconstitutional powers to professional sports leagues.
The five US states now involved in supporting New Jersey in the amicus brief argue that the Third Circuit finding usurps states’ rights by maintaining the federal PASPA ban on sports betting:
It points out that the Third Circuit Court radically expanded the doctrine of federal pre-emption by holding that the US Congress may forbid the individual states from repealing their existing laws without affirmatively setting forth a federal regulatory or deregulatory scheme, and that the ruling disregards anti-commandeering jurisprudence by requiring state legislators to maintain, and state executive officials to enforce, laws that would otherwise have been repealed.
The state filing emphasizes that the states are not taking a position for or against widened sports betting, but that they have become involved out of concern regarding the possible precedent that court rulings regarding PASPA might bring about
Even where it has Article I authority to act, Congress may not force the States to act as the vehicle for implementing federal policy and thereby shift political accountability to the States political for its actions, the filings argue, claiming that this is coercion and unconstitutional commandeering.
The national sports leagues response to the amicus briefs is now awaited.
Our readers will recall that the Supreme Court can pick and choose which issues it will hear, and that last year it did not include the sports betting legalization issue on its roll.