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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Jan. 31 denying a request by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to vacate a previous determination that the Authority’s power was unconstitutional.
The ruling is the latest addition to a lengthy civil court battle led by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, along with state affiliates in their quest to get rid of the national, centralized body. The lawsuit brought up a number of constitutional questions focusing on the Authority’s relationship to the Federal Trade Commission, under which it is housed.
The Fifth Circuit court had made its decision on the Authority’s status in November, after a federal district court had sided with the Authority and declared it constitutional. In late December, an amendment was added to a federal budget bill that was designed to address the appeals court’s constitutionality concerns. The edit to the bill gave the Federal Trade Commission more oversight on rules made by the Authority.
After that change, the Authority went to the Fifth Circuit, asking a panel of appeals judges to vacate the court’s previous decision in light of the new FTC oversight, and asking it to rehear the case in light of the new information.
Both requests were denied this week and a panel of federal judges remanded the case to the federal district court for examination.
The Authority issued the following statement late Tuesday:
“In the aftermath of the recent Congressional amendment, and without opining on the newly amended HISA law, the Fifth Circuit has sent the case back to the district court. Outside Louisiana and West Virginia, the Authority will continue enforcing the Racetrack Safety Program and preparing for the implementation of its Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on March 27, subject to the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of the rules.”
There are two other federal cases pending regarding the legal status of the Authority. Read more at The Blood-Horse »
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) was created by Congress to establish and enforce, under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission, a national uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant.
Image credit: ©Michal Kalasek, mik_photo — Fotolia.
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