Taking into consideration the particularities of the US legislation system, there is a strong necessity to explain the issues of the Supremacy Clause should be explained with particular examples from the legislation and the judicial practice.
Originally, the Supremacy Clause of the US judicial system is stated in the Constitution Article VI, paragraph 2 (it is the Supremacy Clause itself, to be more precise). This clause is regarded to be the establishing factor of the Constitution, Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as “the supreme law of the land” (Drahozal, 2004). The text of the Supremacy Clause is aimed at establishing these documents of the US legislation system as the highest components of the law. Wallace (2004) in his turn, emphasizes the following notion: “Striking similarities exist between the supremacy clause and the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
The Supremacy clause is often regarded as the most integral part of the US constitution, which defines the federal government’s authority over the States. Some researchers argue that the function of the fourteenth amendment is the same, nevertheless, it is necessary to emphasize that the supremacy clause deals with the matters of the relations among the federal government and the states, while the fourteenth amendment deals with the relations among government, states and citizens, giving much preference to citizens. In confirmation of this fact it is necessary to cite Wallace (2004), who states: “Under the Supremacy Clause, everyone must follow federal law in the face of conflicting state law. A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid federal statute, and that a conflict will be found either where compliance with both federal and state law is impossible or where the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.” Taking into consideration this fact, it should be emphasized that due to the concerns of courtesy and the matters of federalism, the issues of federal relief against an agency of state government must be tailored to empower the federal constitutional and statutory law only. (Drahozal, 2004) It is regarded to be rather crucial, as it is stated that the federal district court’s exercise of judgment to instruct state political bodies originates essential questions taking into account the matter of the legitimacy of its authority.
As for the matters of the policies and regulations that are generally adopted by the federal government, there is a strong necessity that state legislation took into considerations all the policies. The Supremacy Clause is the main guarantor for these requirements. If this requirement is not met, the State Action contradicts with the federal law. This situation is dangerous for its consequences. The congressional action falls within the powers granted to Congress. Thus, the congress may exceed its authority, and the congressional acts become less valid and attain no priority over the state policies and legislations. On the other hand, Congress policy may attain greater priority over state policy. Originally, it is not so crucial, nevertheless, Congress may propose state and federal policies and regulations have a compromise.
Another component of the US judicial system is the Commerce Clause. In legislation research literature it is mainly described as the enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). Coenen (1998) emphasized the fact that: “The clause states that Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the states, and with the Native American tribes. Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas of commerce as a separate power granted to the Congress of the United States. It is common to see the Commerce Clause referred to as “the Foreign Commerce Clause”, “the Interstate Commerce Clause”, and “the Indian Commerce Clause”, each of which refers to a different application of the same single sentence in the Constitution.” From this point of view of this notion, it should be stated that numerous contradictions arise on the basis of the Commercial Clause itself and the range of powers granted to Congress by the Commercial clause. The fact is that the clause is often divided into Necessary and Proper Clause, which create the perspective of legislative power in combination. Based on this fact, numerous constitutionalists deny that such division is the proper application of the Commercial Clause. The importance of the Commerce Clause for the judicial system is described in Mcgreal (2002). He Gives an example of the case Gonzales v. Raich and states the following: “The Commerce Clause appearyd as the Framers’ retort to the key problem originating to the Constitution itself: the lack of any federal commerce authority under the Articles of Confederation. For the first century of our history, the primary use of the Clause was to exclude any discrimination of state legislation. Then, in response to quick industrial development and an interdependent national economy, Congress “ushered in a new era of federal regulation under the commerce power,” beginning with the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.”
Originally, the Commercial Clause of legislation can not deal with domestic relations only. The issues of regulating abroad commerce relations are closely linked with supremacy and the factors of exclusivity of a federal government authority. Originally, all the attempts to deal in foreign policy cases deemed the province of the federal government have been essentially restricted by courts. Nevertheless, the states have some powers to regulate foreign commercial relations. From this point of view, it should be stated that it is generally emphasized that the states may also regulate interstate commercial relations, while Congress has such an opportunity in a restricted range of situations. One of the instances is given in Mcgreal (2002). He regards the case of U.S. v. Darby Lumber: “some of the goods manufactured by Darby were to be shipped through interstate commerce. The Supreme Court, in its turn, stated that the Fair Labor Standards Act could be applied to the intrastate production of those goods”. This case became the precedence, which stipulated the fact, that Commercial Clause could be empowered by Congress, as there are situations possible when states will not be able to regulate the relations.
Coenen, Dan T. “Business Subsidies and the Dormant Commerce Clause.” Yale Law Journal 107.4 (1998): 965-1053.
Drahozal, Christopher R. The Supremacy Clause: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004.
Mcgreal, Paul F. “The Flawed Economics of the Dormant Commerce Clause.” William and Mary Law Review 39.4 (2002): 1191-1287.
Wallace, James. “Supremacy Clause Immunity: Deriving a Willfulness Standard from Sovereign Immunity.” American Criminal Law Review 41.4 (2004): 1499.