Texas federal district judge finds HISA constitutional

Columbus, OH — U.S. District Court Judge James Hendrix ruled on Thursday (May 4) that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which was amended by Congress and signed into law as amended in December 2022, is constitutional, according to a story in Thoroughbred Daily News.

According to the story by T. D. Thornton, “The revamped Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) statute that got signed into law back in December was judged to be constitutional late on Thursday by the Texas federal district judge handling the case on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“‘Congress answered the call — identifying the three constitutional concerns that led the Fifth Circuit to hold HISA unconstitutional and rectifying each with the amendment,’” wrote United States District Court Judge James Wesley Hendrix in his May 4 order out of the Northern District of Texas (Lubbock Division).

“‘The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can now initiate rulemaking according to its own policy preferences,’” Hendrix wrote.

“‘Given the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, the plaintiffs fail to establish that HISA, as amended following the Fifth Circuit’s opinion, continues to violate the Constitution,’” Hendrix wrote. “‘The Court denies all other requested relief.’”

To read Judge Hendrix’s decision, click here.

In a statement from the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Chief Executive Officer Eric Hamelback and lead attorney Daniel Suhr indicated that Hendrix’s decision will be appealed.

“We’ve been down this road before. After a loss in the district court, we secured a win in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. We will win there again,” declared Hamelback. “We will fight to protect horsemen and their constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court if needed.”

“We plan an immediate appeal of this decision, and we remain confident in our legal arguments,” stated Suhr. “Congress cannot abdicate its authority to a private corporation. Challenging this law is critical to protecting democratic accountability enshrined in our constitution.”

To read the complete story on Thoroughbred Daily News, click here.

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