Last month, the Justice Department reversed a 2011 ruling that let states legalize and regulate online gambling within state borders. Peter J. Ferrara, an alumnus of the Justice Department, shared his opinion in USA Today. He emphasizes that the decision is completely unprecedented and appalling. It is simply a handout to Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner and top Republican donor.
The 2011 Act was widely considered uncontroversial by lawyers and constitutional scholars. Attorney General Robert Kennedy said the bill was designed “first to assist the states and territories in the enforcement of their laws,” not to obstruct states’ rights by creating a federal ban.
The new decision from the Trump Justice Department seems to be directly influenced by the lobbying of Adelson’s team. Ferrera stresses the appalling nature of the decision, as the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel is supposedly an independent entity which creates only the most morally correct opinions. It generally respects the judgments of past OLC attorneys even when they disagree with the rulings.
Yet, now the DOJ reversed its opinion immediately after Adelson applied pressure. Ferrara said, “Never before have I seen law enforcement officials bend so easily seemingly to please one influencer.”
Adelson has contributed tens of millions of dollars in political donations to Trump.