New Jersey’s Federalism Wager Pays Off Big

The Daily Signal | 5/16/2018 | Staff
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Jonathan Wood is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation.

Our Founding Fathers wisely recognized that, to safeguard individual liberty, power must be divided up between different branches and levels of government.

System - Courts - Effort - Division - President

To preserve that system, courts must block any effort to upend that division, whether it be an imperious president seeking to force Congress to pass particular legislation, or a Congress similarly dictating to the states.

The Supreme Court reiterated that simple and fairly obvious principle in an opinion Monday, striking down a federal statute that forbade states from amending their own sports gambling laws.

Professional - Amateur - Sports - Protection - Act

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, enacted in 1992, aimed to prevent the spread of legalized sports betting. But, instead of forbidding sports betting activity under federal law, it forced states to forbid it by prohibiting them from amending their existing bans.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act didn’t stop the spread of sports betting, which has grown to a $100 billion industry (albeit an illegal one). Nationwide, people openly place illegal bets on the Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament, and many other sporting events. In 2016, President Barack Obama even bragged about violating these laws during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Prohibition - Sports - Alcohol - New - Jersey

Recognizing that prohibition has been as ineffective for sports betting as it was with alcohol, New Jersey voters passed a referendum by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin, demanding the state legislature reform the state’s ban. But the popular will has been thwarted by sports leagues suing under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to block the reform effort.

New Jersey took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which gave the state an unqualified win.

Decision - Justice - Samuel - Alito - Professional

In a 7-2 decision, Justice Samuel Alito explained that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is at odds with a fundamental premise of the Constitution: that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Signal
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