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Volume 24 No. 159

Law and Politics

New Jersey taxpayers are paying $2.3M to law firms "that employ some of the biggest names in the legal world" as part of the state's effort "to allow sports betting at casinos and race tracks," according to documents cited by Matt Friedman of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Following a federal appeals court decision in September, the state's "only option is the U.S. Supreme Court." New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Press Secretary Michael Drewniak said, "We went into this knowing it would be costly ... This is what it costs to take a constitutional matter to the Supreme Court." The Christie administration spent about $1.8M on legal fees in the case, "while leaders of the state Legislature forked over another $525,385." The Christie administration hired the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, "which assembled a massive team for the case." Nineteen of the firm’s partners and 16 of its associates "worked a combined 4,353 hours as of Oct. 21, billing the state" more than $1.62M. In addition, the state "spent another $183,943 on the firm’s court fees, research, travel and other expenses." Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson "has worked 314 hours on the sports betting case." The lawyer who has "done the most work" is attorney Robert Johnson, who "billed 594 hours." Eugene Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, also "worked 11 hours on the case." In addition, five state-employed lawyers have "worked a combined 648 hours on sports betting" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/30).