Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That's What Makes It A Horse Race

The West Virginia Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court's rejection of a claim that the state's "zero tolerance" drug policy for racing horses was unconstitutional:

 We are persuaded by the Illinois court's reasoning. If we were to adopt the appellants' argument, it would result in endless litigation and debates concerning whether a particular horse was affected by a particular substance. In the end, the winner of a horse race would not be determined by the speed of the horses on the track, but by the dexterity of experts and lawyers in the courtroom.

In Morris, we found to be constitutional the Racing Commission's power to eliminate drugs in race horses “by any reasonable and adaptable method.” Morris, 133 W.Va. at 194, 55 S.E.2d at 271. We find that the Racing Commission's zero tolerance rule is a reasonable method of preventing horses from being raced when they have drugs in their system. We therefore find that 78 C.S.R. § 66.5 is rationally related to the reasonable regulation of horse racing, and is therefore constitutional.

(Mike Frisch)


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