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Florida law professor requests argument before court on sports betting

Gavel and scale on desk

October 26 2017

On October 17, 2017, Florida State University professor Ryan Rodenberg asked the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief to consider all of its options before ruling on a challenge to a federal sports betting ban. Rodenberg, whose research is in sports law analytics, requested the court to grant him five minutes in oral arguments to argue that the court should rule based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) without ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

Rodenberg’s amicus brief is his latest contribution in which he previously backed New Jersey and a thoroughbred horse owners and trainers group that requested the Supreme Court to review whether New Jersey can selectively repeal its anti-sports betting laws concerning casinos and horse race tracks without violating PASPA. Then, in July, Rodenberg argued that the lower courts went beyond the text of the statute when they stopped all sports betting. In September, Rodenberg filed another brief that argued upholding the appellate decision would empower any single league to stop sports betting even if other leagues decide to support it.

The October brief was filed one day after the NCAA, NBA, NHL, and MLB argued that PASPA does not force states to enact or administer federal policy. Rodenberg argued that the unusual nature of the case showed how important it was to present all potential judicial options, not just the constitutional claims. He also argued his involvement would help the court continue tradition of avoiding reaching constitutional questions before it is necessary to decide them. In addition, Rodenberg stated that the, “constitutional claims are complex, shifting and sometimes paradoxical. But the court need not disentangle the Gordian knot that is PASPA’s Tenth Amendment anti-commandeering implications.” With the filing of the amicus brief, Rodenberg continues his active involvement in the case.

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