Will Court Sports Betting Decision Weaken Feds’ Fight Against Sanctuary Cities?

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Statue at U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Lorie Schaull via Flickr

There is a direct link between the Supreme Court’s decision Monday to strike down a federal law that barred every state but Nevada from allowing betting on most sporting events and the administration’s effort to punish local governments that resist Trump’s immigration policies, according to some legal experts, the Associated Press reports.

“The court ruled definitively that the federal government can’t force states to enforce federal law,” said Ilya Shapiro of the  libertarian Cato Institute. “In the immigration context, this means it can’t require state or local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.”

Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union said the ruling reinforced decisions from the 1990s, including one that struck down part of a federal gun control law that required local police to determine if buyers were fit to own handguns.

“It reiterates that the real thrust of the 10th Amendment and the principles of law in this area is that the fed government can’t tell the states or cities how to legislate,” Jadwat said.

The amendment says that powers not specifically given to the federal government belong to the states.

In President Trump’s former life as a casino owner, he might have cheered the ruling. But the administration opposed the outcome reached by the high court, in part because it could signal trouble in its legal fight against sanctuary states and cities.

Seven of the nine justices — five conservatives and two liberals — backed a robust reading of the Constitution’s 10th Amendment and a limit on the federal government’s power to force the states go along with Washington’s wishes.

The federal anti-gambling law is unconstitutional because “it unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do,” said Justice Samuel Alito. “It’s as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.”

There is a direct link between the court’s decision in the sports betting case and the administration’s effort to punish local governments that resist Trump’s immigration policies.

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