The Competitive Enterprise Institute this week joined an amicus brief in Christie v. NCAA, the sports gambling case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief from CEI, the Pacific Legal Foundation, Cato Institute, and Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty argues the Constitution forbids Congress from requiring New Jersey to enforce a federal ban on sports gambling and urges the court to invalidate the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
“The people of New Jersey voted to end their state’s ban on sports gambling, but a 1992 federal law was used to nullify that vote,” explained Sam Kazman, CEI general counsel. “That law is bad in terms of public policy, and even worse in terms of constitutionality.”
“Not only has PASPA failed to halt the spread of sports betting, but also it threatens the very notion of representative government by allowing members of Congress to make decisions with no regard for the will or interests of each state’s citizens,” said CEI Senior Fellow Michelle Minton, an expert in sports gambling policy.
The brief draws attention to previous cases in which the Supreme Court struck down federal laws for violating this “commandeering” principle. Absent this constitutional restraint, the brief explains, the federal government could enlarge its power at the expense of America’s system of federalism, respect for our political decision-making process, and most importantly, the liberty of all Americans.
At issue is whether New Jersey is allowed to repeal its own state ban on sports gambling, as its citizens have already voted to do. The court is expected to hear oral argument in the case later this year.