New Jersey’s attempt to challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and legalise intrastate sports betting will be front-and-centre in the appeal courts today (June 26) as a panel of U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals judges in Philadelphia considers a judgment by Judge Michael Shipp earlier this year which went against New Jersey governor Chris Christie .
Christie appealed the Shipp decision, perpetuating the legal struggle between the state and the national sports leagues, who have been supported in their opposition to New Jersey’s wishes by the federal Department of Justice. Bothe sides have indicated that if necessary they are prepared to fight the constitutionality of the PASPA all the way to the US Supreme Court.
New Jersey officials argue that the 1992 federal PASPA unfairly allows sports betting in Nevada and three other states, while banning it everywhere else.
Experts say billions of dollars are wagered on games each year in Nevada alone.
The appeal judges will hear oral arguments from the respective legal teams today. Ted Olson, best known as the winning attorney in the Bush v Gore U.S. Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 Presidential race, will argue for New Jersey, whilst Paul Clement, the lead attorney in an unsuccessful effort last year to undo the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, at the Supreme Court, will argue for the leagues that the federal law is a legitimate exercise of Congressional power.
Interestingly, Clement succeeded Olson as the federal government’s chief legal representative in Supreme Court cases in 2004 and served in the role until 2008, the publication North Jersey.com reports.
Each side will have 30 minutes to present oral arguments. The leagues will have their 30 minutes divided into two 15 minute presentations by legal eagles representing the leagues and the Department of Justice, whilst New Jersey will get 20 minutes, with another 10 minutes reserved for the representatives of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and for state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.