Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n v. Governor of NJ, No. 13-1713 (3d Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Seeking to address illegal sports wagering and to improve its economy, New Jersey sought to license gambling on rofessional and amateur sporting events. Sports leagues sought to block those efforts, claiming, with the United States intervening, that the proposed law violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), 28 U.S.C. 3701, which prohibits most states from licensing sports gambling. New Jersey argued that the leagues lacked standing because they suffer no injury from legalization of wagering on their games and that PASPA was beyond Congress’ Commerce Clause powers. The state claimed that PASPA violates principles under the system of dual state and federal sovereignty: the “anti-commandeering” doctrine, on the ground that PASPA impermissibly prohibits states from enacting legislation to license sports gambling; and the “equal sovereignty” principle, in that PASPA permits Nevada to license sports gambling while banning other states from doing so. The district court enjoined New Jersey from licensing sports betting. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that the leagues have Article III standing to enforce PASPA and that PASPA is constitutional. The court noted that accepting New Jersey’s arguments would require extraordinary steps, including invalidating a law under the anti-commandeering principle (the Supreme Court has only twice done so) and expanding that principle to suspend commonplace operations of the Supremacy Clause over state activity contrary to federal laws.