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Philadelphia v. New Jersey

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 537 U.S. 1192; 123 S. Ct. 1281;154 L. Ed. 2d 1027; 2003 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. A state law prohibiting the importation of out-of-state garbage and thus, commerce, into a state is held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A state may not attempt to isolate itself from a problem common to many other states by erecting a barrier against the movement of interstate trade. A protectionist state law is invalid if it facially discriminates against outsiders.


Facts. Operators of private landfills in New Jersey and other states challenged a New Jersey ban which prohibited importation of waste from outside the state. The state court held the ban unconstitutional because it discriminated against interstate commerce. The highest state court reversed holding that the law advanced health and environmental objectives without economic discrimination against interstate commerce.

Issue. Whether the New Jersey ban on importation of out-of-state waste violates the Commerce Clause.

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