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What is the "Supremacy Clause" of Article VI of the Constitution?
Provides for preemption of other conflicting laws. Preemption may be EXPRESS (such as where a federal statute expressly says that state laws are preempted) or it may be IMPLIED
When is preemption Implied?
- When it is impossible to simultaneously comply with both federal and state law;
- State law impedes the achievement of a federal objective; OR
- Congress evidences a clear intent to preempt state law.
- BUT states may set environmental standards stricter than federal law, unless Congress clearly prohibits it.
May states tax the federal government?
No. States may not charge state tax to be paid out of the federal treasury for federal government activity. For example, a state could not level property taxes on a federal agency occupying a building, or impose sales taxes on the goods sold at a PX.
What is the Dormant Commerce Clause?
In recognition that Congress could legislate to prevent burdens on interstate commerce, the Dormant Commerce Clause operates as a bar on state law that unduly burdens interstate commerce.
What is the Privileges and Immunities Clause?
- Article IV:
- • Prevents a state or municipality from denying citizens of other states the privileges and immunities it affords its own citizens without substantial justifications.|
- Fourteenth Amendment:
- • Preserves a person's right to travel from one state to another.
- P&I of 14th Amendment is always the wrong answer UNLESS the question is about right to travel.
If a state law does NOT discriminates against out-of-staters | 1) Is there an impact on the DCC? | 2) Is there an impact on the Privileges and Immunities clause?
- 1) Dormant Commerce Clause: The law could violate the DCC if the law's burden on interstate commerce outweighs the benefits of the law
- 2) Privileges and Immunities: No violation, because this clause does not apply if there is no discrimination against out-of-staters
If a state law discriminates against out-of-staters, does it violate the DCC? (hint: general rule, 3 exceptions)
- If a law burdens interstate commerce, the law will violate DCC unless—|
- 1) Least discriminatory means to reach important purpose: It is necessary to achieve an important state government purpose (rarely found) AND the state government shows that no less discriminatory alternative can achieve its goal, OR |
- 2) Congressional approval: Congress expressly approves the law, OR |
- 3) Market participant exception: The state or local government is acting as a market participant—in this case, the state may favor its own citizens over out-of-staters (e.g., in-state tuition at a state university)
What happens if a state law discriminates against out-of-staters re: their ability to earn a living?
- RULE: The law violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV unless the law is necessary to achieve an IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT PURPOSE |
- NOTE: Corporations and aliens cannot invoke the privileges and immunities clause
Can a state use its tax system to assist in-state businesses?
- NO |
- This constitute discrimination against out-of-state businesses, and would violate the DCC
When can a state impose taxes on an interstate business or company?
- 1) Nexus: When there is a substantial nexus between the product or activity to be taxed in the state, AND
- 2) Apportionment: The taxation is fairly apportioned among the taxing state and other states in which the business or company may operate
Must the courts of one state give Full Faith and Credit to judgments from courts of another state?
- Yes, provided the following three are all satisfied: |
- 1) PJ & SMJ: the court that rendered the judgment had personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over the ∆ and the controversy, AND
- 2) On Merits: the judgment entered was on the merits, AND
- 3) Final: the judgment was final.