U.S. v Locke, 981701

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtKennedy
Citation529 U.S. 89,146 L.Ed.2d 69,120 S.Ct. 1135
Decision Date06 March 2000
Docket Number981701
PartiesSyllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES UNITED STATES v. LOCKE, GOVERNOR OF WASHINGTON, et al. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

529 U.S. 89
120 S.Ct. 1135
146 L.Ed.2d 69

Syllabus

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES
v.
LOCKE, GOVERNOR OF WASHINGTON, et al.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

No. 98-1701.

Argued December 7, 1999
Decided March 6, 2000

After the supertanker Torrey Canyon spilled crude oil off the coast of England in 1967, both Congress, in the Port and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 (PWSA), and the State of Washington enacted more stringent regulations for tankers and provided for more comprehensive remedies in the event of an oil spill. The ensuing question of federal pre-emption of the State's laws was addressed in Ray v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 435 U.S. 151. In 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska, causing the largest oil spill in United States history. Again, both Congress and Washington responded. Congress enacted the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA). The State created a new agency and directed it to establish standards to provide the "best achievable protection" (BAP) from oil spill damages. That agency promulgated tanker design, equipment, reporting, and operating requirements. Petitioner International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), a trade association of tanker operators, brought this suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against state and local officials responsible for enforcing the BAP regulations. Upholding the regulations, the District Court rejected Intertanko's arguments that the BAP standards invaded an area long pre-empted by the Federal Government. At the appeal stage, the United States intervened on Intertanko's behalf, contending that the District Court's ruling failed to give sufficient weight to the substantial foreign affairs interests of the Federal Government. The Ninth Circuit held that the State could enforce its laws, save one requiring vessels to install certain navigation and towing equipment, which was "virtually identical to" requirements declared pre-empted in Ray.

Held: Washington's regulations regarding general navigation watch procedures, crew English language skills and training, and maritime casualty reporting are pre-empted by the comprehensive federal regulatory scheme governing oil tankers; the case is remanded so the validity of other Washington regulations may be assessed in light of the considerable federal interest at stake. Pp. 6_25.

(a) The State has enacted legislation in an area where the federal interest has been manifest since the beginning of the Republic and is now well established. Congress has, beginning with the Tank Vessel Act of 1936, enacted a series of statutes pertaining to maritime tanker transports. These include the PWSA, Title I of which authorizes, but does not require, the Coast Guard to enact measures for controlling vessel traffic or for protecting navigation and the marine environment, 33 U.S.C. § 1223(a), and Title II of which, as amended, requires the Coast Guard to issue regulations addressing the design, construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel qualification, and manning of covered vessels, 46 U.S.C. § 3703(a). Congress later enacted OPA, Title I of which, among other things, imposes liability for both removal costs and damages on parties responsible for an oil spill, 33 U.S.C. § 2702 and includes two saving clauses preserving the States' authority to impose additional liability, requirements, and penalties, §§2718(a) and (c). Congress has also ratified international agreements in this area, including the International Convention of Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Pp. 6_11.

(b) In Ray, the Court held that the PWSA and Coast Guard regulations promulgated under that Act pre-empted Washington's pilotage requirement, limitation on tanker size, and tanker design and construction rules. The Ray Court's interpretation of the PWSA is correct and controlling here. Its basic analytic structure explains why federal pre-emption analysis applies to the challenged regulations and allows scope and due recognition for the traditional authority of the States and localities to regulate some matters of local concern. In narrowing the pre-emptive effect given the PWSA in Ray, the Ninth Circuit placed more weight on OPA's saving clauses than they can bear. Like Title I of OPA, in which they are found, the saving clauses are limited to regulations governing liability and compensation for oil pollution, and do not extend to rules regulating vessel operation, design, or manning. Thus, the pre-emptive effect of the PWSA and its regulations is not affected by OPA, and Ray`s holding survives OPA's enactment undiminished. The Ray Court's prefatory observation that an "assumption" that the States' historic police powers were not to be superseded by federal law unless that was the clear and manifest congressional purpose does not mean that a presumption against pre-emption aids the Court's analysis here. An assumption of nonpre-emption is not triggered when the State regulates in an area where there has been a history of significant federal presence. The Ray Court held, among other things, that Congress, in PWSA Title I, preserved state authority to regulate the peculiarities of local waters, such as depth and narrowness, if there is no conflict with federal regulatory determinations, see 435 U.S., at 171_172, 178, but further held that Congress, in PWSA Title II, mandated uniform federal rules on the subjects or matters there specified, id., at 168. Thus, under Ray's interpretation of the Title II provision now found at 46 U.S.C. § 3703(a), only the Federal Government may regulate the design, construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, operation, equipping, personnel qualification, and manning of tankers. The Court today reaffirms Ray's holding on this point. Congress has left no room for state regulation of these matters. See Fidelity Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. v. De la Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141. Although the Ray Court acknowledged that the existence of some overlapping coverage between the two PWSA titles may make it difficult to determine whether a pre-emption question is controlled by conflict pre-emption principles, applicable generally to Title I, or by field pre-emption rules, applicable generally to Title II, the Court declined to resolve every question by the greater pre-emptive force of Title II. Thus, conflict pre-emption will be applicable in some, although not all, cases. Useful inquiries in determining which title governs include whether the regulation in question is justified by conditions unique to a particular port or waterway, see Ray, supra, at 175, or whether it is of limited extraterritorial effect, not requiring the tanker to modify its primary conduct outside the specific body of water purported to justify the local rule, see id., at 159_160, 171. Pp. 11_20.

(c) The field pre-emption rule surrounding PWSA Title II and 46 U.S.C. § 3703(a) and the superseding effect of additional federal statutes are illustrated by the pre-emption of four of Washington's tanker regulations, the attempted reach of which is well demonstrated by the briefs and record. First, the imposition of a series of training requirements on a tanker's crew does not address matters unique to Washington waters, but imposes requirements that control the staffing, operation, and manning of a tanker outside of those waters. The training and drill requirements pertain to "operation" and "personnel qualifications" and so are pre-empted by §3703(a). That training is a field reserved to the Federal Government is further confirmed by the circumstance that the STCW Convention addresses crew "training" and "qualification" requirements, and that the United States has enacted crew training regulations. Second, the imposition of English language proficiency requirements on a tanker's crew is not limited to governing local traffic or local peculiarities. It is pre-empted by §3703(a) as a "personnel qualification" and by 33 U.S.C. § 1228(a)(7), which requires that any vessel operating in United States waters have at least one licensed deck officer on the navigation bridge who is capable of clearly understanding English. Third, Washington's general requirement that the navigation watch consist of at least two licensed deck officers, a helmsman, and a lookout is pre-empted as an attempt to regulate a tanker's "operation" and "manning" under §3703(a). Fourth, the requirement that vessels in Washington waters report certain marine casualties regardless of where in the world they occurred cannot stand in light of Coast Guard regulations on the same subject that Congress intended be the sole source of a vessel's reporting obligations, see 46 U.S.C. § 6101 3717(a)(4). On remand, Washington may argue that certain of its regulations, such as its watch requirement in times of restricted visibility, are of limited extraterritorial effect, are necessary to address the peculiarities of Puget Sound, and therefore are not subject to Title II field pre-emption, but should instead be evaluated under Title I conflict pre-emption analysis. Pp. 20_24.

(d) It is preferable that petitioners' substantial arguments as to pre-emption of the remaining Washington regulations be considered by the Ninth Circuit or by the District Court within the framework this Court has herein discussed. The United States did not participate in these cases until appeal, and resolution of the litigation would benefit from the development of a full record by all interested parties. If...

To continue reading

Request your trial
543 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register May 22, 2006
    • May 22, 2006
    ...a vessel's obligations, are within the field foreclosed from regulation by the States. See United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (Mar. 6, 2000). Since portions of this proposed rule involve the manning of U.S. vessels and the licensing of merchant marin......
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program; maritime sector implementation: Merchant mariner qualification credentials consolidation,
    • United States
    • Federal Register January 25, 2007
    • January 25, 2007
    ...a vessel's obligations, are within the field foreclosed from regulation by the States. See United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 120 S.Ct. 1135 (March 6, 2000). Since this proposed rule involves the credentialing of merchant mariners, it relates to personnel qualifica......
  • Chemical facility anti-terrorism standards,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 28, 2006
    • December 28, 2006
    ...of the Federal regulatory program. See Geier, 529 U.S. at 873; Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 67 (1941); cf. United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89 Federal preemption questions can arise both in the courts' application of state common law--often state tort law--or in the application of a st......
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program; maritime sector implementation: Commercial driver's license hazardous materials endorsement,
    • United States
    • Federal Register January 25, 2007
    • January 25, 2007
    ...a vessel's obligations, are within the field foreclosed from regulation by the States. See United States v. Locke and Intertanko v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89 (2000). Since portions of this proposed rule involve the manning of U.S. vessels and the licensing of merchant mariners, it relates to perso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
447 cases
  • Arizona Contractors Ass'n Inc. v. Candelaria, No. CV07-02496-PHX-NVW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • February 7, 2008
    ...not triggered when the State regulates in an area where there has been a history of significant federal presence." United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 108, 120 S.Ct. 1135, 146 L.Ed.2d 69 (2000). The intent of Congress is the "touchstone" of any preemption analysis. Retail Clerks Inn Ass'n ......
  • Trinity Indus., Inc. v. Greenlease Holding Co., Civil Action No. 2:08–1498.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • August 5, 2014
    ...effect to saving clauses where doing so would upset the careful regulatory scheme established by federal law.” United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 106, 120 S.Ct. 1135, 146 L.Ed.2d 69 (2000). Because the “statutory right of contribution” provided under § 9613(f) constitutes one part of “an ......
  • United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Flores-Galarza, No. 02-1621.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • February 4, 2003
    ...This presumption only arises, however, if Congress legislates in a field traditionally occupied by the states. United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 108, 120 S.Ct. 1135, 146 L.Ed.2d 69 (2000) (citing Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230, 67 S.Ct. 1146, 91 L.Ed. 1447 (1947)). Th......
  • Goonan v. Fed. Reserve Bank of N.Y., No. 12 Civ. 3859(JPO).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 7, 2013
    ...law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objective of Congress.” United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 109, 120 S.Ct. 1135, 146 L.Ed.2d 69 (2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). It rests upon “implied manifestations of congressional intent,” ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Minimizing Constitutional Risk in State Energy Policy: A Survey of the State of the Law
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 45-5, May 2015
    • May 1, 2015
    ...‘traditional’ state functions. Utility regulation, however, should fall within any deinition of that term.”). 101. United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 108, 30 ELR 20438 (2000) (stating that the federal Ports and Waterways Safety Act preempted Washington’s tanker regulations because “Congre......
  • The Supremacy Clause and Federal Preemption of State Water Quality Law
    • United States
    • The Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Legal Structure and the Public's Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment Part I
    • April 20, 2009
    ...preempted that local law. 74 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit had little difficulty finding that 67. Id . at 173-78. 68. 529 U.S. 89, 30 ELR 20438 (2000). For more in-depth discussions of this case, see Paul S. Wei-land, Preemption of Environmental Law: Is the U.S. Supreme Co......
  • The Political Consequences of Legal Victories: Ballast Regulation and the Clean Water Act
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 40-2, February 2010
    • February 1, 2010
    ...2007), would make little sense if the states did not retain some authority to address the problems caused by aquatic nuisance species. 66. 529 U.S. 89, 30 ELR 20438 (2000). 67. 435 U.S. 151, 8 ELR 20255 (1978). Copyright © 2010 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. reprinted with pe......
  • Limits on Federal Water Quality Regulation: The Tenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and Clean Water Act 'Navigable Waters
    • United States
    • The Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Legal Structure and the Public's Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment Part I
    • April 20, 2009
    ...1311-1315 (1994). 203. 33 U.S.C. §1362(7), (8). 204. United States v. Alaska, 503 U.S. 569, 572-73 (1992). 205. Id . at 585-86. 206. 529 U.S. 89, 30 ELR 20438 (2000). 207. Id . at 99. 208. See , e.g. , Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Mississippi, 484 U.S. 469, 471-85, 18 ELR 20483 (1988) (quietin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT