Maryanne Trump Barry Dead at 86, Judge Blocked Sports Betting


Posted on: November 13, 2023, 05:39h. 

Last updated on: November 13, 2023, 05:39h.

Maryanne Trump Barry, the eldest sister of former President Donald Trump, has died at the age of 86.

Maryanne Trump Barry sports betting case
Donald Trump, Maryanne Trump Barry, and Robert Trump at the 1990 opening of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. Trump Barry died today at the age of 86. (Image: Getty)

Trump Barry was an attorney who in 1973 began her career as an assistant US attorney in the District of New Jersey after receiving her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University. She gained her undergrad at Mount Holyoke College, a private liberal arts women’s college in Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in art from Columbia University in New York City.

In September 1984, two years after she married New Jersey attorney John Joseph Barry, President Ronal Reagan nominated Trump Barry to New Jersey’s US District Court. She was confirmed the next month by the Senate.

In a 2015 expose on her career, The New York Times summarized Trump Barry as a federal judge whose “reputation on the bench was that of a tough judge with a strong command of her courtroom.”

Trump Barry was elevated to the US Court of Appeals for the Third District in June 1999 by President Bill Clinton. She was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate that September.

She would spend the rest of her career in Philadelphia where the Third District operates from the James A. Byrne Courthouse. It was there where Trump Barry and her younger brother’s career intersected.

Trump Barry’s brother, who would go on to become the 45th president of the United States, made much of his fortune in the New York real estate market. But he also made many millions in Atlantic City where he developed, opened, and operated several casinos, including the Trump Taj Mahal, which is today the Hard Rock.

Trump during his time as president said he supported allowing states to dictate their own laws on sports gambling. But his eldest sister said federal law didn’t allow that.

Sports Betting Opponent

New Jersey can be credited for the vast expansion of legal sports betting across the US since 2018.

In 2011, voters in the Garden State overwhelmingly passed a statewide ballot referendum that created a state constitutional amendment permitting sports betting. New Jersey lawmakers subsequently passed a law — the 2012 Sports Wagering Act — despite the federal government having a law on its books that prohibited single-game sports gambling everywhere but Nevada.

Nevada was excluded because, at the time of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’s (PASPA) passing in 1992, the state was already home to such sports betting. Parylay bets were also legal at the time in Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, and similar carveouts for them were included in PASPA.

The NCAA and big four — the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL — successfully blocked New Jersey from allowing sports betting to commence through the federal court system. The state appealed the case to the Third Circuit.

In August 2015, Trump Barry and Marjorie Rendell ruled in the majority in a three-judge opinion that PASPA prevented New Jersey from allowing sports betting in its state. Rendell’s husband, Ed Rendell, championed the expansion of casino gambling while he served as governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011.

Third Circuit Upheld Trump Barry Decision

New Jersey appealed the Trump Barry and Rendell decision to the full Third Circuit through an en banc hearing, and surprisingly, the court agreed to review the case.

This is extraordinarily rare,” gaming attorney Daniel Wallach said at the time. “The judicial equivalent of winning the lottery.”

However, the state didn’t win once the full appellate court considered the case. The court remained sided with the NCAA and the leagues in a 9-3 decision. Since Trump Barry participated in the initial ruling, she was barred from participating in the en banc review.

New Jersey won the lottery again when its appeal to the US Supreme Court was accepted in 2017. The high court in May 2018 ruled 6-3 that PASPA violated anti-commandeering interpretations of the US Constitution and struck down the longstanding law.

Since the landmark ruling, 38 states and DC have legalized sports betting. Trump Barry retired in February 2019 amid a probe into her tax filings.


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