Law students frequently find the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dormant Commerce Clause doctrine confusing. That is no surprise given the sharp disagreement over that doctrine among seasoned practitioners, academics, and even judges. And the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross did little to bring clarity to that critically important area of the law. In narrow terms, the Court in National Pork upheld a California law that prohibited the sale of whole pork from the offspring of breeding sows confined in a manner that California residents consider to be cruel. The case, however, is about much more than pork chops. It involves weighty constitutional issues about the power of the states to regulate activity within their borders. The case also concerns the limits on those powers when a state’s laws interfere with the ability of other states to regulate within their borders—or when those laws undercut the national marketplace.
Michael S. Knoll & Ruth Mason, For Now, Court Is Cool with California in Charge, The Regulatory Review (July 11, 2023).