Federalism III

Federalism III - Federalism III - "Dormant" Commerce Clause...

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Federalism III - "Dormant" Commerce Clause I. Regulation of foreign commerce. A. Congress has the exclusive power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. B. Foreign commerce includes traffic on the high seas, even though both terminal ports are within the United States. Japan Line, Ltd. v. County of Los Angeles . C. However, states may regulate local aspects of port pilotage and navigation of ships in foreign commerce (such as safety of boat handling, etc.). II. Regulation of interstate commerce. A. In general. 1. The problem: The Cooley legacy. a. Both Congress and states have subject matter jurisdiction over commerce. - And that's enough to sustain legislation. b. Where subject matter demands uniformity, Congress' power is exclusive. c. Congress determines whether uniformity is demanded. 2. Congressional power is presumptively exclusive. a. Generally, when Congress regulates interstate commerce, conflicting state laws are superseded and even nonconflicting state laws in the field may be preempted. b. Congress may even permit state regulations that would otherwise violate the Commerce Clause. Likewise, Congress may prohibit state regulations that could otherwise be upheld by the Commerce Clause. 1) South Carolina Highway Dept. v. Barnwell Bros. (1938). S.Ct upheld state statute which limited width and weight of trucks on state highways as a nondiscriminatory safety measure and as a means of securing the economical use of highways. 2) Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona (1945). Court held unconstitutional a state law limiting the length of passenger and freight trains as a serious burden on interstate commerce. 3) See also, Maine v. Taylor . 3. State regulation of commerce (in the absence of Congressional action). a. If Congress has not enacted laws regarding the subject, a state or local government may regulate local aspects of interstate commerce. To do so, however, it must not "discriminate against" or "unduly burden" interstate commerce. If it does, the state or local regulation will violate the Dormant or Negative Commerce Clause .
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b. How to tell which subjects demand uniformity when Congress has not yet acted? Brown-Forman Distillers Corp. v. New York State Liquor Authority (1986). 1) A state law is per se unconstitutional which: A) directly regulates interstate commerce, B) directly discriminates against interstate commerce; or C) favors in-state economic interests over out-of- state interests. 2) Even-handed regulation with only indirect effect on
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course POSI 1310 taught by Professor Arnold during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

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Federalism III - Federalism III - "Dormant" Commerce Clause...

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