Issue: Does the
Rule: NO MAJORITY RULE!
A plurality proposes doing a factual balancing test between safety and
the burden on interstate commerce. Brennan and Marshall want to do a balancing
test based on the regulatory purpose
of the statute in question. The
dissenters want to give
Analysis: The plurality and the concurring opinion agree on the judgment but not how to get there.
The plurality says that whether the statute may stand depends on whether the safety argument is non-trivial and isn’t overwhelmed by countervailing interstate commerce policy considerations. They point to facts from the trial which show that the statute might actually go against safety, but that the burden on interstate commerce would be really high. They make a big deal out of the “border cities exemption”, whereby longer trucks are allowed in cities that are right on the state border. They use this to suggest that safety couldn’t be as big a deal as they say, or else they would ban longer trucks everywhere.
Brennan and Marshall kind of take a shortcut. They say that it doesn’t matter whether there are legitimate safety considerations in fact, it only matters that the stated goal of the governor was protectionist.
The dissent basically wants to give a bunch of deference to the states, and they note that the plurality kind of spins the facts in the favor of the trucking company.
Conclusion: The lower court decisions are upheld.