Legal Analysis of I-Poker Legislation by Harvard University Constitutional Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe
Laurence H. Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and one of the foremost U.S. constitutional scholars, has concluded that the “bad actor” provisions in two proposed iPoker bills in the California Legislature likely violate the U.S. Constitution.
Following a thorough legal analysis of Senate Bill 1366 (Correa) and Assembly Bill 2291 (Jones-Sawyer), Prof. Tribe concluded that both proposed bills are unlikely to survive a Constitutional challenge on several grounds. Among Prof. Tribe’s conclusions:
Constitutionally prohibited Bill of Attainder:
* The Senate and Assembly bills both contain provisions clearly designed to exclude readily identifiable (even though not expressly named) entities such as PokerStars from the California online poker market. These provisions fly in the face of the U.S. Constitution’s command that “[n]o State shall … pass any Bill of Attainder.”
* Under settled principles, a law is an unconstitutional bill of attainder if it “legislatively determines guilt and inflicts punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial.” The Framers drafted the Bill of Attainder Clause as “a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function, or more simply — trial by legislature.”… It is indisputable that S.B. 1366 and A.B. 2291 exclude certain former Internet poker providers from California’s intrastate Internet poker market without any judicial trial.
* My conclusion is that both proposed bills are, and would probably be found by a court to be, constitutionally prohibited bills of attainder.