In President Donald Trump’s former life as a casino owner, he might have cheered Monday’s ruling from the Supreme Court that struck down a federal law that barred every state but Nevada from allowing betting on most sporting events.
But the Trump administration opposed the outcome reached by the high court at least in part because it could signal trouble in its legal fight against so-called 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,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “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 enforcement policies, several legal commentators said.