Baltimore Tries to Use Eminent Domain to Condemn the Preakness Stakes Horse Race


A horse is a horse is a horse, of course…. Unless it is going for walks in a race the City of Baltimore is trying to sentence!
Baltimore has filed a lawsuit looking for to apply eminent area to take Preakness Stakes horse race and the Pimlico racetrack, in which the race is held. As one main eminent area expert places it, “Baltimore is making an attempt to condemn a horse race. A freaking horse race.”
The Preakness is one of the Triple Crown horse races (in conjunction with Belmont and the Kentucky Derby) and consequently one of the maximum sizable occasions in American horse racing. The condemnation is legally questionable. But even though the city wins the lawsuit and succeeds in taking up the Preakness, it is probably to grow to be a loser.
Walter Olson of the Cato Institute has a Wall Street Journal op ed discussing the case. As he explains, the town’s intention is to preserve the owners of the Preakness from transferring it out of the metropolis:
In 2009, then-[Maryland] Gov. Martin O’Malley threatened condemnation to preserve the venerable Preakness Stakes horse race, which include its logos and different intangible assets, from leaving Baltimore. It stayed. In the ensuing 10 years, the economic cause for preserving the Preakness in Baltimore have faded to nothing. The race is held at Pimlico, a decrepit facility in a critically depressed section of the town this is hard for visitors to get to and sits idle the rest of the year.
The owners of the race and music, Canada’s Stronach Group, have centered preservation energies at the Laurel Park racetrack halfway between Baltimore and Washington, where the race would retain to advantage the greater Baltimore economic system and could in all likelihood have a more cozy future. But Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has filed match, asking a court to use condemnation powers to award possession of the racetrack and the race to the town.
Pause to assume how a town nationally famed for its disasters at jogging such primary offerings as police and schools is going to turn around a suffering facility and occasion in a sector of the carrying world, horse racing, itself lengthy in decline. Most possibly kingdom taxpayers could grow to be subsidizing the event and facilities even more heavily than they now do.
The Inverse Condemnation blog has some extra details about the case, which includes the grievance Baltimore has filed in kingdom court docket. It is important to emphasise that the metropolis is trying to condemn no longer simply the race tune, but additionally all of the “intellectual assets” related to the Preakness Stakes, which include its emblems and the felony right to keep the race. Some of the prison issues at stake on this war for possession of the Stakes are in all likelihood to show hard.
Maryland state law authorizes Baltimore to sentence both the race music and the associated intellectual belongings. Both the Fifth Amendment and the Maryland country constitutions mandate that the authorities may additionally handiest use eminent area to take belongings for a “public use.” However, a publicly owned entity – even a race tune and horse race – in all likelihood qualifies as a public use even beneath the slender interpretation of that concept that I actually have defended in my paintings on the situation. Another possible basis for a “public use” is a 1982 California Supreme Court selection maintaining r that promoting sports and pastime qualifies as a public use, thereby validating the City of Oakland’s plan to condemn the Oakland Raiders that allows you to maintain them from shifting to Los Angeles – even though that ruling strikes me as extraordinarily doubtful (the Oakland Raiders taking turned into eventually invalidated on different grounds). Regardless, Baltimore will likely be successful on the public use trouble.
But it truly is simply the start of the fun. The condemnation of the Raiders was sooner or later invalidated in kingdom court because it violated the Dormant Commerce Clause of the federal Constitution, which prevents country and local governments from unduly intruding on Congress’ power to alter interstate trade. The courtroom ruled that the Dormant Commerce Clause were violated because of “the interdependent character of the NFL [in which] every member group is notably based for its profits on each other group…”
For this cause, and additionally due to the fact there’s a “national league structure” in expert soccer, Oakland’s attempt to sentence a franchise to maintain it from moving undermined federal power over interstate trade. Horse racing isn’t always as integrated a commercial enterprise as the NFL. Nonetheless, the Triple Crown races are advertised as a unified entity via Triple Crown Productions, and some of the equal horses compete in all three races. It is plausible to argue that “every member [race] is significantly dependent for its income on every other [race].” Thus the owners of the Preakness have at least a few enormous danger of getting the taking invalidated on the identical foundation as the Raiders prevailed over Oakland.
Another tough trouble is the question of the place of the logos and highbrow assets related to the Preakness. Baltimore best has authority to condemn assets inside its jurisdiction. In the case of land and different tangible assets, vicinity is typically smooth to determine. Things are an awful lot tougher in terms of highbrow assets.