Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

Nov 17, 2022, 11:47 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 1:49 pm
FILE - A hore goes through an early morning workout for the first time since Hurricane Katrina at t...

FILE - A hore goes through an early morning workout for the first time since Hurricane Katrina at the Fair Ground Race Track in New Orleans, La., on Nov. 2, 2006. A federal appeals court has ruled Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, that Congress gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is “facially unconstitutional.”(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit — in two rulings issued Friday — ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act — including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states — that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

___

This story was updated to correct the name of Animal Wellness Action, which had been erroneously referred to as Animal Wellfare Action.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Suspect arrested in fatal shooting at Houston home

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection to a Thanksgiving day shooting at a Houston-area home that left two people dead and two wounded, according to the Houston Police Department. A man believed to be a former spouse of one of the victims entered the home through the back door […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Zimbabwe National Parks official inspects some of the elephant tusks during a tour of ivor...
Associated Press

Wildlife conference boosts protection for sharks, turtles

PANAMA CITY (AP) — An international wildlife conference moved to enact some of the most significant protection for shark species targeted in the fin trade and scores of turtles, lizards and frogs whose numbers are being decimated by the pet trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

NYPD officers, bystander save man who fell subway tracks

NEW YORK (AP) — Two New York City police officers and a bystander raced to save a man who fell on the tracks at a Manhattan subway station, plucking him out of the way of an oncoming train in a daring rescue captured by an officer’s body camera. The incident happened around 4 p.m. Thursday […]
1 day ago
FILE - This Oct. 3, 2016, photo, provided by the Martin County Sheriff's Office, shows Austin Harro...
Associated Press

Judge to decide on Florida face-biter insanity plea

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A former college student who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one victim’s face finally goes on trial Monday, with a judge deciding whether he goes to prison for life or to a mental hospital. Austin Harrouff, 25, has pleaded not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance … What a Feeling” from 1983’s “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63. Her publicist, Judith A. Moose, announced the news […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ble Goude returns to Ivory Coast after 11 years in exile

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Former Youth Minister Charles Ble Goude, who was acquitted of crimes at the International Criminal Court, returned home Saturday to Ivory Coast after more than a decade of exile. He arrived in Abidjan on a commercial flight and made no comment at the airport, which was heavily guarded by police. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act