by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Forget President Trump’s travel ban: Another heavyweight fight is heading to the Supreme Court in the fall that will pit New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie against America’s top sports leagues. The outcome could change sports gambling rules throughout the country.
Christie v. NCAA has the all the “markings of a sleeper blockbuster,” West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin, who is expected to leave public office for the private sector soon, wrote with his deputy solicitor general Thomas M. Johnson Jr. this week.
“The parties and their counsel give the case an Ali-Frazier feel,” Lin and Johnson wrote at SCOTUSblog. “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie versus the National Collegiate Athletic Association and all four major professional sports leagues (the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball). Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson versus his successor (and his principal deputy) Paul Clement. For Supreme Court junkies, you don’t get much closer to the Thrilla in Manila.”
Atlantic City, a longtime gambling hub on the East Coast, has fallen on hard times, and New Jersey developed a renewed interest in legalizing sports betting as a way to stave off the city’s financial woes. Shuttered casinos and declining revenues have made allies of the Garden State’s governor and its gamblers.