New Jersey failed on a second attempt to assert its right in carrying out a state legislature aimed at legalizing sports betting on professional and college sports events, even if such gambling activity is confined to licensed NJ racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals came out with a 128-page ruling last Tuesday, declaring NJ’s sports betting law as unconstitutional because it goes against the provisions of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Still, NJ Governor Chris Christie remains resilient and has stronger determination now more than ever, in pursuing the legal battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the turn of events unfolded, New Jersey found an ally in the person of U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie, a member of the federal court’s three-judge panel that deliberated on New Jersey’s appeal. Judge Vanaskie dissented from the views of the two other federal judges who opined that the PASPA statute is a “constitutional exercise of congressional authority.”
The federal judge further wrote that the U.S. Constitution does not give Congress the power to prohibit individual states from regulating an activity that exists under unregulated conditions. Otherwise, this likens the role of each U.S. state to mere foot soldiers recruited to carry out the policy choices of the U.S. Congress.
Federal appeals court proceedings give the losing litigant the right to ask for a review by a full court, comprising all member judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The lawyers representing New Jersey are optimistic, since the Supreme Court usually gets involved in cases that elicit different rulings coming from various circuit courts that deliberate on the same issue.