New Jersey sports betting advocates have learned the names of the three judges who will decide the fate of their state’s latest betting legislation.
A three-judge panel of the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has scheduled a March 17 hearing for oral arguments in New Jersey’s latest appeal of the latest injunction barring the state from allowing sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks.
The three judges picked to hear the state’s appeal are: Maryanne Trump Barry (pictured left), the sister of Donald Trump, famed entrepreneur and Hair Club For Muskrats hall of fame inductee; Majorie Rendell (pictured right), the wife of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; and Julio Fuentes (center), who was among the three judges who rejected the state’s previous appeal in 2013.
The trio does not feature Judge Thomas Vanaskie, who authored the dissenting opinion in that 2013 decision. Vanaskie was the lone judicial voice to suggest New Jersey’s advocates were right in their view that the 1992 federal PASPA sports betting prohibition was unconstitutional because it “conscripts the states as foot soldiers to implement a congressional policy choice.”
Fuentes, meanwhile, was the judge who said the state was free to decide the “exact contours” of its sports betting prohibitions. It was this language that helped New Jersey craft its latest legislation, which doesn’t explicitly authorize or regulate sports betting, but merely allows its casino and racing licensees to add sports betting to their gambling menu.
The pro and college sports leagues opposing New Jersey’s plan have argued that Fuentes wasn’t giving a green light to a partial repeal of PASPA, but was only suggesting that states had the right to decide how punitive to make their own penalties for violating the total prohibition. US District Judge Michael Shipp sided with the leagues in his November 2014 ruling.
As for Trump Barry and Rendell, they each have ties to gambling via their sibling and significant other, respectively. Donald Trump used to run casinos in Atlantic City while Ed Rendell was publicly advocating for sports betting in his home state way back in 2012, although that was one year after he’d left the governor’s mansion. Before donning her judge’s robes, Marjorie Rendell did a stint with Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with a significant gaming practice.