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Opinion analysis: Justices strike down federal sports gambling law (Updated)PCMAX

2019年09月12日 category : 未分類 

The 10th Amendment provides that, if the Constitution doesn’t either give a power to the national government or accept that power away from the states, that power is reserved for the states or the people themselves. The Supreme Court has long interpreted this provision to bar the federal government from”commandeering” the states to enforce national laws or policies. Now the justices ruled that a federal law which bars states from legalizing sports gambling violates the anti-commandeering doctrine. Their choice not only opens the door for states around the country to permit sports betting, but it also could give considerably more power to states generally, on issues which range from the decriminalization of marijuana to sanctuary towns.
The federal law at issue in the case is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which dates back to 1992. The law, called PASPA, bans most states out of (among other things) authorizing sports gambling; it carved out an exception which could have permitted New Jersey to establish a sports-betting strategy in the state’s casinos, provided that the nation failed within a year. But it required New Jersey 20 years to behave: In 2012, the state legislature passed a law which legalized sports betting.
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association and the four major professional sports leagues went into court, arguing that the 2012 law breached PASPA. The lower federal courts agreed, prompting the New Jersey legislature to go back to the drawing board. In 2014, it passed a new law which gathered back present bans on sports betting, at least as they applied to New Jersey casinos and racetracks. The NCAA and the leagues returned into court, asserting that the new law also violated PASPA, along with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled against the state.
The Supreme Court agreed to look at the nation’s constitutional challenge to PASPA, and today the court reversed. In a decision by Justice Samuel Alito, the court began by describing the”anticommandeering doctrine may seem arcane, but it is simply the expression of a fundamental structural decision incorporated into the Constitution” –“the choice to withhold from Congress the power to issue orders directly into the States.” And that, the majority continued, is exactly the issue with the provision of PASPA the state challenged, which bars states from authorizing sports betting: It”unequivocally dictates what a state legislature could and may not perform.” “It’s like” the majority suggested,”federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and have been armed with the ability to stop legislators from voting on any busting proposals. A more direct affront to state sovereignty,” Alito reasoned,”is difficult to envision.”
The court also rejected the argument, created by the championships and the federal authorities, the PASPA provision barring states from authorizing sports betting does not”commandeer” the nations, but rather simply supersedes any state legislation that conflict with the provision — a legal doctrine known as pre-emption. Pre-emption, most explained,”is based on a federal law which regulates the behaviour of private actors,” but here”there is just no way to comprehend the provision prohibiting state authorization as anything aside from a direct command to the States,” that”is just what the anticommandeering rule doesn’t allow.”
Having determined the PASPA provision barring states from sports betting is unconstitutional, the bulk then turned into the question that followed by that conclusion: If the rest of PASPA be struck down as well, or can the legislation survive with no anti-authorization provision? In legal terms, the query is called”severability,” and today six of the seven justices — Alito along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch — who also agreed the PASPA anti-authorization provision was unconstitutional also agreed that the whole law ought to collapse. They reasoned that, if the pub on states authorizing or licensing sports gambling were invalid, it would be”most unlikely” that Congress would have wanted to keep to prevent the states from running sports lotteriesthat were considered as”far more benign than some other forms of betting.” Similarly, the majority posited, if Congress had known that the pub on condition authorization or operation of sports gambling would be struck down, it would not have desired that the parallel ban on the performance of sports-betting strategies by private entities to continue. The PASPA provision barring the advertising of sports betting met the same fate; otherwise, the court explained,”national law would forbid the advertising of an activity that is legal under both state and federal legislation, and that is something that Congress has rarely done.”
The majority acknowledged that the question of whether to legalize sports gambling”is a contentious one” that”requires an important policy decision.” But that choice, the majority continued,”is not ours to make. Congress can control sports betting right, but if it elects not to do so, every State is free to act by itself.”
Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion in which he focused not on the substance of the court’s ruling but instead on a rather subjective legal question: the viability of the court’s present severability doctrine. Thomas made clear that he combined the majority’s decision striking down most of PASPA because”it provides us the ideal response it can for this query, and no party has asked us to apply a different test.” However he proposed that the court ought to, at some point in the future, reconsider its severability doctrine, which he characterized as”dubious.” To begin with, he observedthe doctrine is against the tools that judges normally use to translate laws because it requires a “`nebulous inquiry into hypothetical congressional purpose,”’ instructing judges to try to work out exactly what Congress would have wanted to do if a part of a law violated the Constitution, when”it appears improbable that the enacting Congress had any intent on this query.” Second, he continued, the doctrine”frequently requires courts to weigh in on statutory provisions that no party has” a legal right to battle.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion. Ginsburg did not elaborate on her obvious conclusion (joined in total by Justice Sonia Sotomayor) that PASPA’s bar on the consent of sports betting from the nations does not violate the Constitution. Instead, she argued (also with the support of Justice Stephen Breyer) that, even if PASPA’s anti-authorization provision is unconstitutional, the remaining portion of the law ought to remain in force. “On no rational ground,” Ginsburg highlighted,”can it be concluded that Congress would have preferred no statute whatsoever if it could not prohibit States from authorizing or licensing such schemes.”
New Jersey has long hoped that allowing sports gambling could revive the state’s struggling racetracks and casinos. In March of this year, ESPN projected that if New Jersey were to triumph, the state could have legal sports gambling by the time football season kicks off in the autumn; nearly two dozen other nations are also considering bills that would enable sports betting. The financial effect of allowing sports betting cannot be understated: Legal sports betting in Las Vegas takes in more than $5 billion annually, and most estimates place the value of illegal sports gambling in the United States at around $100 billion.
Today’s ruling may also have a much broader reach, potentially affecting a range of topics that bear little similarity to sports betting. For instance, supporters of so-called”sanctuary cities” — towns that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials to enforce immigration laws — have cited the 10th Amendment in recent challenges to the national government’s attempts to implement states on grants for state and local law enforcement. Challenges to the national government’s recent efforts to enforce federal marijuana laws in countries which have legalized the drug for either recreational or medical use might also be dependent on the 10th Amendment.

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