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Kassel v. Consolidated Freightways Corp

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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 450 U.S. 662, 101 S. Ct. 1309, 67 L. Ed. 2d 580, 1981 U.S. 17.

Brief Fact Summary. Iowa prohibits the use of 65 foot doubles (a certain type of truck) within its borders, but makes certain exceptions for the same trucks used for the benefit of Iowa residents.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. State regulations designed to promote public health or safety, but further such purposes only marginally and interfere with commerce substantially may be invalid under the Commerce Clause.


Facts. Iowa, unlike all other States nearby it, prohibits the use of 65-foot doubles within its borders. Notwithstanding this restriction, Iowa allows its border cities to adopt the truck length limitations of the states adjoining them. Iowa also allows Iowa truck manufacturers to obtain a permit to ship trucks out of the state as long as 70 feet long. Mobile homes are also eligible for exemptions, as long as they are being used to benefit Iowa residents. Dissatisfied, the Plaintiff, Consolidated Freightways Corp. (Plaintiff), filed suit in the District Court arguing the Iowa’s scheme unconstitutionally burdened interstate commerce. Iowa claimed that it enacted its scheme lawfully for the purpose of promoting local safety.

Issue. Was Iowa’s statute scheme an unreasonable safety measure enacted pursuant to its police powers?
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