New Jersey Wins on Sports Betting in the U.S. Supreme Court

Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, ___ U.S. ___ (2018).  This blog has covered the history of the State of New Jersey’s efforts to overcome the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), which forbids (with some exceptions not applicable here) a State from authorizing betting on professional sports.  For example, the en banc oral argument in the Third Circuit was discussed here.

Yesterday, by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States held that PASPA improperly violates the rule that the federal government cannot commandeer a State’s legislative process by compelling the State to enact or enforce a federal regime, and there was no difference between that and forbidding a State to adopt a new law.  “Congress cannot issue direct orders to state legislatures.”

Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Kagan, Thomas, and Gorsuch fully joined.  Justice Breyer joined a portion of that opinion, but he filed a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.  Justice Breyer also joined, in part, a dissenting opinion authored by Justice Ginsburg, to which Justice Sotomayor also subscribed.  Now when someone says “you can bet on it,” they can lawfully be referring to professional sports.


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