Editor’s Note: The following is a statement from U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams in response to an announcement from The Jockey Club regarding constitutionality of the Horse Racing Safety and Integrity Act of 2020.
Columbus, OH — Just a few days ago, after the USTA refused to abandon the principles it has been advancing for several years, one of The Jockey Club’s minions informed us that our principles did not matter, because the bill is assured of passage. The Jockey Club’s sudden fury is baffling, at first.
The white paper to which The Jockey Club’s lawyer refers in his editorial is not secret. We have been using it to good effect on Capitol Hill for weeks, and state attorneys general are also reviewing it. For our opponents, who included us in the bill without our knowledge or consent, who have refused to consider changes to the language of the bill, who have obstructed our interest at every turn, and who disregarded a broad body of veterinary knowledge in drafting this bill, to act shocked that we decline to hand them our work product is right out of their arrogant form book.
It is worth mentioning that the unconstitutionality of the HIA was known from the time the Congressional Research Service report on the bill came out in 2015. Nothing constitutionally relevant is different in the HISA.
The USTA retained Gibson Dunn, one of the most eminent law firms in the United States, to advise on the constitutional problems in the bill. Our “hired gun,” led by one of its partners, a former United States Solicitor General, recently beat the federal government in a case involving a federal statute that had fewer constitutional defects than The Jockey Club’s private legislation contains. This explains all the commotion coming from The Jockey Club’s direction.
We do not intend to try the constitutional case in a series of blustering press releases. In the event that this legislation is enacted, there will be a better forum for that.
To read the USTA’s press release, “USTA obtains legal advice that HISA is unconstitutional,” click here.