Shop Talk: July/August 2023

District Court Rules Horseracing Law is Constitutional

The legal battle surrounding the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will continue after a federal judge ruled in early May that the amended law satisfies constitutional muster.

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (NHBPA) will appeal the memorandum opinion and order by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas that “Congress remedied the offending provisions.”

Judge James Wesley Hendrix rejects the plaintiffs’ claims that HISA continues to violate the private-nondelegation doctrine under Article 1 and the Due Process Clause.


A district court ruled that “Congress remedied the offending provisions” of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and declared it constitutional. Photo by: The Humane Society of the United States

“Now that Congress expressly authorizes the [Federal Trade Commission] to modify the [Horseracing Integrity and Safety] Authority’s rules, the plaintiffs retreat and admit their true view: that there is nothing Congress could do to bring the HISA-Authority arrangement within constitutional bounds,” Hendrix writes in the memorandum. “But this argument ignores the long history of the executive branch leveraging — with court approval — expertise from private industry so long as the industry remains subordinate to a supervisory federal agency.”

The NHBPA vows that it will continue its fight until it exhausts its legal options.

“We’ve been down this road before,” according to a statement attributed to Eric Hamelback, CEO of the NHBPA. “After a loss in the district court, we secured a win in the Fifth Circuit Court of…

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