467 U.S. 82 (1984), 82-1608, South-Central Timber Development, Inc. v. Wunnicke

Docket Nº:No. 82-1608
Citation:467 U.S. 82, 104 S.Ct. 2237, 81 L.Ed.2d 71
Party Name:South-Central Timber Development, Inc. v. Wunnicke
Case Date:May 22, 1984
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 82

467 U.S. 82 (1984)

104 S.Ct. 2237, 81 L.Ed.2d 71

South-Central Timber Development, Inc.

v.

Wunnicke

No. 82-1608

United States Supreme Court

May 22, 1984

Argued February 29, 1984

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE

NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Pursuant to an Alaska statute, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources [104 S.Ct. 2238] published a notice that it would sell certain timber from state lands under a contract requiring "primary manufacture" (partial processing) of the timber within Alaska before the successful bidder could ship it outside of the State. Petitioner, an Alaska corporation engaged in the business of purchasing timber and shipping the logs into foreign commerce, does not operate a mill in Alaska and customarily sells unprocessed logs. When it learned that the primary manufacture requirement was to be imposed on the sale of state-owned timber involved here, petitioner filed an action in Federal District Court seeking an injunction on the ground that the requirement violated the negative implications of the Commerce Clause under which States may not enact laws imposing substantial burdens on interstate and foreign commerce unless authorized by Congress. The District Court agreed and issued an injunction, but the Court of Appeals reversed. That court found it unnecessary to reach the question whether, standing alone, the requirement would violate the Commerce Clause, because it found implicit congressional authorization in the federal policy of imposing a primary manufacture requirement on timber taken from federal land in Alaska.

Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.

693 F.2d 890, reversed and remanded.

JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I and II, concluding that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that Congress has authorized Alaska's primary manufacture requirement. Although there is a clearly delineated federal policy, endorsed by Congress, imposing primary manufacture requirements as to timber taken from federal lands in Alaska for export from the United States or for shipment to other States, in order for a state regulation to be removed from the reach of the dormant Commerce Clause as being authorized by Congress, congressional intent must be unmistakably clear. The requirement that Congress affirmatively contemplate otherwise invalid state legislation is mandated by the policies underlying dormant Commerce

Page 83

Clause doctrine. The fact that Alaska's policy appears to be consistent with federal policy -- or even that state policy furthers the goals that Congress had in mind -- is an insufficient indicium of congressional intent. Congress acted only with respect to federal lands; it cannot be inferred from that fact that it intended to authorize a similar policy with respect to state lands. Pp. 87-93.

WHITE, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I and II, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Parts III and IV, in which BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 101. POWELL, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which BURGER, C.J., joined, post, p. 101. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which O'CONNOR, J., joined, post, p. 101. MARSHALL, J., took no part in the decision of the case.

WHITE, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE WHITE announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I and II, and an opinion with respect to Parts III and IV, in which JUSTICE BRENNAN, JUSTICE BLACKMUN, and JUSTICE STEVENS joined.

Page 84

We granted certiorari in this case to review a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that held that Alaska's requirement that timber taken from state lands be processed within the State prior to export was "implicitly authorized" by Congress, and therefore does not violate the Commerce Clause. 464 U.S. 890 (1983). We hold that it was not authorized, and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

I

In September, 1980, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources published a notice that it would sell approximately 49 million board-feet of timber in the area of Icy Cape, Alaska, on October 23, 1980. The notice of sale, the prospectus, and the proposed contract for the sale all provided, pursuant to 11 Alaska Admin. Code § 76.130 (1974), that "[p]rimary manufacture [104 S.Ct. 2239] within the State of Alaska will be required as a special provision of the contract."1 App. 35a. Under the primary manufacture requirement, the successful bidder must partially process the timber prior to shipping it outside of the State.2 The requirement is imposed by contract and

Page 85

does not limit the export of unprocessed timber not owned by the State. The stated purpose of the requirement is to

protect existing industries, provide for the establishment of new industries, derive revenue from all timber resources, and manage the State's forests on a sustained yield basis.

Governor's Policy Statement, App. 28a. When it imposes the requirement, the State charges a significantly lower price for the timber than it otherwise would. Brief for Respondents 6-7.

The major method of complying with the primary manufacture requirement is to convert the logs into cants, which are logs slabbed on at least one side. In order to satisfy the Alaska requirement, cants must be either sawed to a maximum thickness of 12 inches or squared on four sides along their entire length.3

Petitioner, South-Central Timber Development, Inc., is an Alaska corporation engaged in the business of purchasing standing timber, logging the timber, and shipping the logs into foreign commerce, almost exclusively to Japan.4 It

Page 86

does not operate a mill in Alaska, and customarily sells unprocessed logs. When it learned that the primary manufacture requirement was to be imposed on the Icy Cape sale, it brought an action in Federal District Court seeking an injunction, arguing that the requirement violated the negative implications of the Commerce Clause.5 The District [104 S.Ct. 2240] Court

Page 87

agreed and issued an injunction. South-Central Timber Development, Inc. v. LeResche, 511 F.Supp. 139 (Alaska 1981). The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding it unnecessary to reach the question whether, standing alone, the requirement would violate the Commerce Clause, because it found implicit congressional authorization in the federal policy of imposing a primary manufacture requirement on timber taken from federal land in Alaska. South-Central Timber Development, Inc. v. LeResche, 693 F.2d 890 (1982).

We must first decide whether the court was correct in concluding that Congress has authorized the challenged requirement. If Congress has not, we must respond to respondents' submission that we should affirm the judgment on two grounds not reached by the Court of Appeals: (1) whether, in the absence of congressional approval, Alaska's requirement is permissible because Alaska is acting as a market participant, rather than as a market regulator; and (2), if not, whether the local processing requirement is forbidden by the Commerce Clause.

II

Although the Commerce Clause is by, its text, an affirmative grant of power to Congress to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, the Clause has long been recognized as a self-executing limitation on the power of the States to enact laws imposing substantial burdens on such commerce. See Lewis v. BT Investment Managers, Inc., 447 U.S. 27, 35 (1980); Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322, 326 (1979); H. P. Hood & Sons, Inc. v. Du Mond, 336 U.S. 525, 534-538 (1949); Cooley v. Board of Wardens, 12 How. 299 (1852). It is equally clear that Congress may "redefine the distribution of power over interstate commerce" by "permit[ting] the

Page 88

states to regulate the commerce in a manner which would otherwise not be permissible." Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U.S. 761, 769 (1945). See also Sporhase v. Nebraska ex rel. Douglas, 458 U.S. 941, 958-960 (1982); New England Power Co. v. New Hampshire, 455 U.S. 331 (1982); Western & Southern Life Insurance Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 451 U.S. 648, 652-655 (1981); Prudential Insurance Co. v. Benjamin, 328 U.S. 408 (1946). The Court of Appeals held that Congress had done just that by consistently endorsing primary manufacture requirements on timber taken from federal [104 S.Ct. 2241] land. 693 F.2d at 893. Although the court recognized that cases of this Court have spoken in terms of express approval by Congress, it stated:

But such express authorization is not always necessary. There will be instances, like the case before us, where federal policy is so clearly delineated that a state may enact a parallel policy without explicit congressional approval, even if the purpose and effect of the state law is to favor local interests.

Ibid. We agree that federal policy with respect to federal land is "clearly delineated," but the Court of Appeals was incorrect in concluding either that there is a clearly delineated federal policy approving Alaska's local processing requirement or that Alaska's policy with respect to its timber lands is authorized by the existence of a "parallel" federal policy with respect to federal lands.

Since 1928, the Secretary of Agriculture has restricted the export of unprocessed timber cut from National Forest lands in Alaska. The current regulation, upon which the State places heavy reliance, provides:

Unprocessed timber from National Forest System lands in Alaska may not be exported from the United States or shipped to other States without prior approval of the Regional Forester. This requirement is necessary

Page 89

to ensure the development and...

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  • The Hague Choice of Court Convention and federal power over state courts.
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    • Georgetown Journal of International Law Vol. 45 Nbr. 1, September 2013
    • 22 Septiembre 2013
    ...matter), which would at least equally affect interstate commerce and possibly more. (52.) See S.-Cent. Timber Dev., Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82,100 (1984) ("It is a well-accepted rule that state restrictions burdening foreign commerce are subjected to a more rigorous and searching sc......
  • Reconstructing the dormant commerce clause doctrine.
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    • 1 Noviembre 2008
    ...cases quoting Pike's "efficiency" language, see Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460, 475 (2005); S.-Cent. Timber Co. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82, 100 (1984); Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Co., 426 U.S. 794, 821 (1976) (Brennan, J., dissenting). (312.) See infra notes 313-15 and accompanying......
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    ...v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987) (criminal procedure case involving government employees); South-Central Timber Dev., Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82 (1984); see also Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U.S. 429 (1980); Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U.S. 794 (1976) (holding that while a state ma......
  • Framing transactions in constitutional law.
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    • 1 Abril 2002
    ...when a state is "regulating" as opposed to "participating" in the market. See, e.g., S.-Cent. Timber Dev. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82, 93 (1984) ("Our cases make clear that if a State is acting as a market participant, rather than as a market regulator, the dormant Com......
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34 books & journal articles
  • The Hague Choice of Court Convention and federal power over state courts.
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of International Law Vol. 45 Nbr. 1, September 2013
    • 22 Septiembre 2013
    ...matter), which would at least equally affect interstate commerce and possibly more. (52.) See S.-Cent. Timber Dev., Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82,100 (1984) ("It is a well-accepted rule that state restrictions burdening foreign commerce are subjected to a more rigorous and searching sc......
  • Reconstructing the dormant commerce clause doctrine.
    • United States
    • William and Mary Law Review Vol. 50 Nbr. 2, November 2008
    • 1 Noviembre 2008
    ...cases quoting Pike's "efficiency" language, see Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460, 475 (2005); S.-Cent. Timber Co. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82, 100 (1984); Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Co., 426 U.S. 794, 821 (1976) (Brennan, J., dissenting). (312.) See infra notes 313-15 and accompanying......
  • Filth, filtering, and the First Amendment: ruminations on public libraries' use of Internet filtering software.
    • United States
    • Federal Communications Law Journal Vol. 53 Nbr. 2, March 2001
    • 1 Marzo 2001
    ...v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987) (criminal procedure case involving government employees); South-Central Timber Dev., Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82 (1984); see also Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U.S. 429 (1980); Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U.S. 794 (1976) (holding that while a state ma......
  • Framing transactions in constitutional law.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 111 Nbr. 6, April 2002
    • 1 Abril 2002
    ...when a state is "regulating" as opposed to "participating" in the market. See, e.g., S.-Cent. Timber Dev. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82, 93 (1984) ("Our cases make clear that if a State is acting as a market participant, rather than as a market regulator, the dormant Com......
  • Free signup to view additional results