Supreme Court Review, Vol. 1979 (1979), pp. 51-93


The Supreme Court's recent Commerce Clause opinions reflect an apparent effort to rationalize and modernize the analytical framework for delineating the implied restraints that the Clause imposes on state legislation. In the state tax field, the Court has articulated a coherent set of criteria controlling the validity of state taxes on interstate commerce and has discarded doctrine inconsistent with these standards. In the state regulatory context, the Court has likewise enunciated meaningful decisional principles governing the constitutionality of state regulations affecting interstate commerce and has applied them without substantial concern for their impact on its precedents of an earlier era. To be sure, not all of the Court's contemporary Commerce Clause opinions fit easily into the suggested patterns, and what appears as a clear pattern may be only a haphazard arrangement. Hughes v. Oklahoma emerges, however, as yet another piece in the developing mosaic of the Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence.