What does Trump’s ‘Conservative’ Nominee Mean for Sports Betting?

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Mar/13/2017

It’s official. Noel Francisco was nominated last week by Donald Trump to be the next U.S. Solicitor General. He will file a brief that will state whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court should try New Jersey’s federal appeal to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). That federal law prohibits the expansion of legal sports gambling.

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Was this a surprise?

BetOnline posted a prop bet in January in which Francisco had the lowest payout (+500), other than the field. With that said, there seemed to be a circuitous route to this decision. Several other names were leaked to the press as leading candidates, including Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George. Chuck Cooper, who has ties to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was unwilling  to face the political posturing that can arise during a Senate confirmation. Neither was another leading candidate, Miguel Estrada who is a partner with the law firm representing New Jersey’s quest to overturn PASPA. In fact, Estrada didn’t mince words about his feelings about the other side of the political aisle.

Who is Noel Francisco?

Noel Francisco served in the George W. Bush administration as the Associate Counsel to the President and as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General. He was a partner with the largest U.S. law firm, Jones Day, before joining the Trump administration. In fact, Francisco was serving as the acting Solicitor General while all of these other names were leaked to the press.

He has a resume that is entrenched in socially conservative roots. He clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Senator Ted Cruz was seemingly thrilled with the nomination of Francisco, whom he described as a “principled conservative.”

What does his record indicate about the future of sports betting?

Francisco was one of the administration’s most vocal leaders for Trump’s travel ban. However, he was removed from this process because Francisco’s former law firm, Jones Day, is involved in this litigation. Nonetheless, that one case is a strong indicator of Francisco’s views of executive power. In other words, that doesn’t bode well for a states’ rights case like New Jersey’s appeal to overturn PASPA. Likewise, Francisco has a record of defending socially conservative causes. For example, he was one of the attorneys representing various religious groups that sued the government due to Obamacare’s mandates for contraceptives.

All in all, it seems unlikely that Francisco will support New Jersey’s appeal in favor of legalized sports betting, but stranger things have happened.

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Bio

Brian Saady is the author of the upcoming three-book series, Rackets, which is about the legalization of drugs & gambling, and the decriminalization of prostitution. www.briansaady.com

You can follow him on Twitter @briansaady

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