What does 'en banc' mean and is it the right move for New Jersey?

Oct 15, 2013 |
By: Jon Campbell
If you've been following the New Jersey sports betting case closely and you're not a lawyer, you may be wondering if you'll need French lessons to track the proceedings moving forward.

That's because the term "en banc" has been flying around the case since the Third Circuit court shot down the state's appeal on Sept. 17 by a 2-1 margin from a panel of three judges.

New Jersey now has until November 1 to file for an en banc hearing, or it can skip that step, and file straight to the Supreme Court.

Sounds interesting, but you might be wondering what en banc means.

Literally translated, it means "on the bench" and it refers to a case being heard by a court's entire group of judges rather a select panel.

So if New Jersey files for an en banc hearing and if it grants it, the state's arguments will be heard by the Third Circuit's 12 judges instead of the three who heard arguments during the appeal the first time around.

It's assumed by many that New Jersey will try to go the en banc route but it's important to note that's not confirmed yet.

Would it be a good move though or should the Garden State take this straight to the top court?

"Given the powerful language in the dissent, it makes sense to seek an en banc appeal," Griffin Finan, gaming lawyer for Ifrah Law in Washington D.C., told Covers,"because there is clear disagreement between judges on the Third Circuit about the federal government’s ability to direct state’s to implement a federal policy."
The other reason it might benefit New Jersey is it might buy some time to build some political and media support before this thing hits the Supreme Court.

If the state filed in the Supreme Court right now, the case likely wouldn't be heard until at least the second quarter of next year. That may sound far off but in reality it doesn't give supporters a lot of time to draw publicity to this issue in a turbulent economic and political time.

Support is growing for the sports betting community with great columns like this one from Sports On Earth. More from other sources would help and the good news is they seem to be popping up from different places every week.  

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