Not a surprise: the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear San Jose’s appeal of Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption, which should end any chance of the Oakland Athletics moving to a new Silicon Valley ballpark.
Today was the day the U.S. Supreme Court announced what cases it would hear in the coming session. The Supreme Court did not comment on the decision to pass on San Jose’s suit against MLB, arguing that the sport’s antitrust exemption was a relic of the past and needed to be rejected, which would clear the way for the Athletics to move without MLB approval to a new San Jose ballpark. Since a 1922 case the official national legal policy toward MLB is that it is a game and not a business, exempting the sport from the Sherman Antitrust Act. That ruling has been upheld by subsequent courts and Congress as well, despite judges and members of Congress recognizing the status is an anomaly.
San Jose made it the cornerstone of their lawsuit against Major League Baseball in an attempt to bring the Oakland Athletics to town, but two courts, including the three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, declined to strike it down, saying that the precedent held and that Congress has never seen fit to address it. That Court of Appeals decision stands.
It’s not clear whether San Jose lawyers seriously thought they had a chance on the Supreme Court overturning the antitrust exemption — an action deemed by most observers as being a long shot — or was using the lawsuit as a threat to baseball. But MLB didn’t back down, and San Jose was left with an appeal that was summarily rejected by the court. And while you can never say never to any move of a team given the weirdness in the Oakland sports-facilities situation, it’s safe to say the Oakland-to-San-Jose move is effectively dead.
RELATED STORIES: Could Supreme Court take on MLB antitrust exemption?; Wolff: San Jose “not worth a nasty battle” with Giants; Athletics: Not interested in Coliseum City; Coliseum City, Athletics ballpark plans in flux; Appeals court rejects San Jose’s claim to A’s; A’s commit to Oakland after lease; architect talks begin; With lease approved, A’s face much larger issue: new ballpark; Winning, conciliatory moves bring back Athletics fans; Oakland Athletics lease extension due for approval tomorrow; Selig calls new Coliseum lease “crucial” in keeping A’s in Oakland; A’s close to Coliseum lease extension; Wolff confirms interest in Coliseum-area ballpark; Wolff: We’d be open to Oakland ballpark site; San Jose MLB appeal set for August; Oakland’s Coliseum City runs into hurdles; Oakland offers A’s ten-year Coliseum lease; A’s reject offer; Lashbrook: Hillsboro could host relocating Oakland A’s; MLB to Portland? Not likely, says mayor; Could A’s end up in Candlestick? Here are some unrealistic scenarios; Giants’ Baer: We’d share AT&T Park with Athletics; Appeals court puts San Jose antitrust lawsuit on fast track; Judge: San Jose has no right to the A’s; Selig: We’ll solve Oakland ballpark issue before I leave office; Selig: Oakland Coliseum a pit, but it’s our pit; Legal settlement could pave way for new Oakland ballpark; San Jose suit against MLB a weak one, saye experts; San Jose files suit against MLB in quest for A’s; Selig to San Jose Mayor: Sorry, no time to meet; Progress on new A’s ballpark? Not likely; Athletics propose five-year lease for Coliseum; What drives Lew Wolff?