Courthouse Steps: Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group and Regulatory Transparency Project Teleforum

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On Monday, December 4, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-476, and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-477, its first anti-commandeering cases in years. As explained and affirmed by the Court in New York v. United States and Printz v. United States, under the anti-commandeering principle, Congress lacks the power to regulate state governments’ regulation. At issue on Monday is whether a federal law—the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA)—may constitutionally bar the State of New Jersey from repealing existing state law that prohibits sports wagering to the extent the law applies at casinos and racetracks. Petitioners contend that PASPA is an unconstitutional attempt by Congress to dictate state law. Respondents argue that PASPA does not bar New Jersey from repealing existing law but merely preempts the State from affirmatively authorizing sports wagering. They contend that the alleged “repeal” is in reality an attempt by New Jersey to selectively authorize sports wagering, which is lawfully preempted by PASPA. The decision in these cases could have broad implications for the line between impermissible commandeering and permissible preemption.


Mr. Elbert Lin, Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP


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