Court breathes life back into 10th Amendment

In a sports book.

What a refreshing concept: Congress may exercise only those powers granted to it by the Constitution, all other powers belong to the states and the people themselves.

In an opinion issued today, Justice Samuel Alito tossed the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which outlawed sports gambling, though Nevada a couple of other states were grandfathered. The decision was 6-3.

Here is what Alito stated:

The legalization of sports gambling is a controversial subject. Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the States and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime. Opponents contend that legalizing sports gambling will hook the young on gambling, encourage people of modest means to squander their savings and earnings, and corrupt professional and college sports.

The legalization of sports gambling requires an im­ portant policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.


Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of their citizens … The Constitu­tion gives Congress no such power.

The long dormant 10th Amendment lives.


7 comments on “Court breathes life back into 10th Amendment

  1. Steve says:

    Seems this would have an effect on state marijuana laws.

  2. Bill says:

    I’ll have to read the case more carefully but arguably, it probably stands more for judicial restraint than state’s
    rights. Whatever, it is refreshing to see the court decline to legislate from the Bench.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Legislating from the bench is precisely what 6 judges did in this case. Rather than do what precedent requires, which was to strike unconstitutional laws, but leave ones that are constitutional alone, the court’s right wing (and Justice Kagen) decided to ignore precedent.

  4. Rincon says:

    Let me see if I get it. The federal government has the right to ban some drugs, but not some forms of gambling. Boy, that’s almost semi-logical.

  5. Samantha says:

    Nothing to do with anything other than greed,. Oppourtunities to take poorlycuneducated working people’s money for a fantasy with odds against them they cannot understand. Easy profits while doing no waork at all.

  6. Steve says:


    I presume a fat finger was involved. however “poorly uneducated” would be a double negative.

    So you probably meant to denigrate the “uneducated” or “poorly educated” (taking a side swipe at their teachers and schools along the way here)

    Much more importantly, there are a lot of uneducated people who do quite well for themselves in this country. Moreover, many of them don’t get taken in like the majority of Bernie Madoff’s well educated, wealthy investo….err, marks.

    Gambling is an equal opportunity addiction effecting all education levels equally.

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