The Commerce Clause Quartet
18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014
Date Written: 1995
In 1994, the United States Supreme Court rendered four decisions in which state or local laws which discriminated against out-of-state commerce were found to violate the Commerce Clause. The Court invalidated: a New York town's “flow control” ordinance requiring all solid waste to be processed at a designated transfer station before leaving the municipality, C & A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown; an Oregon statute imposing higher surcharges on the disposal of solid waste from outside the state than within the state, Oregon Waste Systems v. Department of Environmental Quality; a Missouri use tax on goods purchased out-of-state, Associated Industries of Missouri v. Lohman; and a Massachusetts “give back” scheme that, while imposing an equal assessment on milk sold by in and out-of-state dealers to Massachusetts retailers, distributed the proceeds solely to Massachusetts dairy farmers, West Lynn Creamery, Inc. v. Healy.
With an introduction by the Honorable Leon D. Lazer, the author discusses and analyzes these four decisions in this Article. The discussion demonstrates that these decisions raise fundamental questions concerning the constitutional power of state and local government to devise polices for combating their environmental and fiscal problems.
Keywords: U.S. Supreme Court, Commerce Clause, state and local government, C & A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown, Oregon Waste Systems v. Department of Environmental Quality, Associated Industries of Missouri v. Lohman, West Lynn Creamery, Inc. v. Healy, environmental issues, government fiscal issues
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