By Amarillo Globe-News
When it comes to the rights of the states, it is interesting (or confusing) what is considered a right and what is not.
On MaY 14, the highest court in the land — the U.S. Supreme Court — declared that gambling on sports should be determined by individual states, getting rid of a decades-old federal law that prohibited some states from having sports gambling.
In other words, states have the authority to allow betting on sports. Or not to allow betting on sports. It is up to the states.
However, on other issues — states do not enjoy such rights.
For example, take the issue of marriage.
States do not enjoy the right to address this particular issue. Five members of the U.S. Supreme Court determined in 2015 that they must enact what amounts to a marriage law which applies nationwide — no state’s rights here.
The point here is not whether sports gambling is good or bad. The point is how (or why) the U.S. Supreme Court decides when state have rights, and when it determines states do not.
The federal government has no right to define marriage in any way, shape or form. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court sees fit to define marriage for the entire nation. Again — no state’s rights here.
This is what Justice Samuel Alito had to say about the aforementioned 6-3 ruling on states and sports betting, “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.” (From cnn.com)
We do not disagree with Alito’s reasoning.
However, it too often seems that the U.S. Supreme Court picks and chooses when to acknowledge the rights of states (and when not to) without rhyme or reason.
This is what the Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
It is interesting that the founding fathers did not deem it necessary to address the institution of marriage (which did exist in the late 1700s) in any way in this nation’s founding documents.
Yet just a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court found it constitutional to define marriage for every state in the Union. But hey, if states want to allow residents to bet on the Super Bowl — go right ahead.