In times of crisis, New Jersey is relying on the help of its “friends.”
Five US states have sent their respective attorney generals to join New Jersey in its quest to legalize sports betting by filing an amicus petition before the US Supreme Court.
The states of West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin have all presented themselves as amici curiae or – in its literal sense – friends of court after sports betting law expert and Florida State associate professor Ryan Rodenberg filed an amicus brief.
Of the five states joining the legal fray, Legal Sports Report pointed out that West Virginia and Wisconsin had joined New Jersey during its previous unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, while Arizona, Louisiana, and Mississippi are first timers in the amicus filing.
Mississippi, meanwhile, was the lone state which has expressed its desire to legalize sports betting in its jurisdiction.
The newest brief that West Virginia filed contends that they are not concerned about the ability of states to offer sports betting, stressing that the amici “take no position on the wisdom of the state and federal sports wagering laws in this case.”
But the states expressed concern that the Third Circuit, which decided on the fate of sports betting in New Jersey, had set a precedent on how Congress regulates industries.
“The concern of Amici States—the States of West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wisconsin—is not what Congress regulates but how it does so. Even where it has Article I authority to act, Congress may not force the States to act as the vehicle for implementing federal policy and thereby shift to the States political accountability for its actions. Such coercion is unconstitutional commandeering.”
They further argued that the Third Circuit usurped the rights of the state by maintaining the federal ban on sports betting.
“In upholding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) … the Third Circuit radically expanded the doctrine of federal preemption by holding that Congress may forbid the States from repealing their existing laws without affirmatively setting forth a federal regulatory or deregulatory scheme,” the brief said.
“In addition, the Third Circuit disregarded this Court’s anti-commandeering jurisprudence by requiring state legislators to maintain, and state executive officials to enforce, laws that would otherwise have been repealed,” it added.