The Supreme Court’s decision will expand sports betting beyond Las Vegas, seen here, and affect other issues from marijuana laws to sanctuary cities.(Photo: John Locher, AP)
WASHINGTON — You can bet on this: By striking down a 1992 federal law that blocked states from authorizing sports betting, the Supreme Court empowered them on a host of other issues, from drugs and guns to immigration and taxes.
The proof is in the reasoning. The justices ruled that under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot tell states such as New Jersey what to do with their own laws, which is what the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act did.
The same justification can be applied to many current and future battles between the federal and state governments, experts say.
“The reason this case was so closely watched is because of its implications on so many areas of policy that have revealed federal-state tensions of late,” said Ilya Shapiro, a constitutional studies scholar at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
“From environmental regulation to sanctuary cities, marijuana to guns, states are flexing their sovereign muscles in a way that strengthens our body politic.”
The current fight over sanctuary cities offers the most immediate comparison. The Justice Department threatened to withhold public safety grants from cities that refuse to cooperate in its effort to weed out illegal immigrants. It cites a federal law that bans other governments from concealing information regarding individuals’ immigration status.
Four federal district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit have ruled against the Trump administration on the issue, resulting in a nationwide injunction. Now that the Supreme Court has declared the sports betting law unconstitutional, experts say the immigration law is suspect.
“The legislative powers granted to Congress are sizable, but they are not unlimited,” Justice Samuel