Washington, D.C.; May 14, 2018: Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made it illegal for states to authorize sports betting. Pacific Legal Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
“This morning, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act as unconstitutional,” PLF attorney Jonathan Wood said. “The opinion, authored by Justice Alito, is a major win for federalism. Justice Alito’s opinion explains that PASPA, which forbids states from ‘authorizing’ or ‘licensing’ sports betting, ‘unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do.'”
Alito’s opinion goes on to say, “It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.”
“In a nation committed to federalism, with independent federal and state authority both answerable to the people, neither one can dictate to the other,” Wood said. “To hold otherwise, would have undermined a key structural protection of liberty and democratic accountability. By striking down PASPA in its entirety, the Court placed a big bet on our Constitution’s system of federalism.”
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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 12 victories out of 14 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.