Factors The Influence Interstate Commerce and Possible Exceptions to Statutes

In this assignment, you will consider what influences interstate commerce, and if exceptions to statutes are possible.

ABC Freightways Scenario: Commerce Clause

ABC Freightways maintained its principal place of business in Arkansas. However, they provided trucking services in all states west of the Mississippi River, which included the State of Kansas. The State of Kansas passed a law that restricted the length of trucks that could use its interstates to 55 feet. While the length of single trailers are usually no more than 55 feet, that of double trailers are usually 65 feet. Other neighboring states adopted the length of their trucks to be 65 feet. Because of this statute, ABC Freightways could not use their double trailers in the State of Kansas. ABC Freightways filed a lawsuit claiming that the State of Kansas statute was an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.

The State of Kansas provided one exception in the statute that allowed cities along the borders of the state to make an exception to the law that allowed trucks in excess of 55 feet to use their local roads. While waiting on the case to be resolved, ABC Freightways learns from two regular drivers that several highway patrol officers in the State of Kansas offered to overlook the double trailers as long as they traveled through the state on weekends and between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the week. The officers suggested that contributions to the trooper’s union would be nice.

Read also Commerce Clause – Gibbon v. Ogden

Research about interstate commerce. You can use the following terms for your search:

  • Interstate commerce
  • Commerce clause
  • Trucking companies

Based on your research, understanding, and the scenario, create a 3- to 4-page Microsoft Word document that includes the answers to the following questions:

What state or states could ABC Freightways file the lawsuit?

Although ABF could sue in a Kansas state court to prevent lawmakers from limiting the length of trucks that it uses, the issue will remain unresolved until legislators act to remove the impediment. Aside from that, they may look into administrative court, as this is already a dispute on interstate affairs and constitutional law.

Should the lawsuit be filed in a state or federal court? Why? Does it matter?

The determination of whether it should be in federal court or state court is based upon multiple factors, ranging from the legal aspect to strategic considerations. Since the case raises the issue of the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which is responsible for regulating interstate commerce, the federal court will be more likely to have it as it allows a uniform enactment of federal law across the states (Rutkow & Vernick, 2019). Nevertheless, the possibility of ABC Freightways seeking justice in the state court must be taken into account, as it is obvious that the entity may get a supportive verdict since the state regulations and previous decisions are among the criteria.

Read also Gonzales v. Raich – Case on Commerce Clause

Is the State of Kansas statute an impermissible burden on interstate commerce? Why?

Kansas law with a 55-foot truck length limitation in comparison to the neighboring states rules, which allow 65 feet, is an impermissible burden on interstate commerce. This non-standard regulation makes interstate transportation and services like the ones offered at ABC Freightways difficult, as they have to consider the state’s different regulations and that they may be added to the operating costs (Wilson, 2023). Such measures, however, can inhibit the proper flow of goods and the overall national economy, thus striking down the clause’s principal is good for furthering trade and enhance harmony among the different states.

Does the exception to the statute survive the constitutional challenge? Why?

The loophole in the statute that permits trucks with longer trucking units to be allowed on roads within the boundaries of the city on local roads may not withstand a constitutional challenge. But an exception could still occasion a rule that restricts interstate commerce only in the case where such an exception meets certain criteria; for instance, it should not place a local business or a business from other states at a disadvantage (Rosenbaum et al., 2021). However, if the law is proved to be arbitrary and discriminatory in favor of the local commercial players, in excess of the economic inequalities of the States, it may definitely fail the test of constitutional validity.

What are your recommendations to resolve this lawsuit?

Resolving the issue can be achieved through several tactics, such as negotiations. For instance, ABC Freightways can enter into talks with the State of Kansas for the purpose of making amendments to the existing statute that allow the corporation to carry out operations without violating the interstate commerce laws. This can be done by ABC with legislative advocacy, which is the direct way of settling the lawsuit as well. ABC Freightways can participate in the lobbying for the legislative changes both at the state and also at neighboring states’ level in order to bring the trucking regulations and interstate transportation into the same frame, as it improves the consistency and efficiency of transportation. Another way that ABC could use to handle the case is by recourse to litigation. Alternatively, if efforts to negotiate and pass the legislation fail, ABC Freightways may proceed with court litigation to receive a declaratory judgement that the statute breaches the Commerce Clause and an injunction against enforcement.

What are the ethical issues related to the offer made by the state troopers? How should ABC Freightways respond to these ethical issues?

Not only does this state troopers’ offer raise ethical concerns about corruption, but it also erodes the foundations of integrity and justice. The behavior of the road blockers is a form of corruption and the misuse of their power since they are trying to make an exception to the law and secretly support somebody or something that could get them bribed. Another ethical issue raised by the proposal suggested by state troopers to forget about the statute and take money in return for leniency is a lack of fairness. The gift makes it super advantageous for those who are ready to pay bribes, betraying the idea that everyone shall be equal under the jurisdiction of the law and then forming an untruthfulness among the public opinion about the police officers. Another ethical issue that will be manifested during this period that is capable of tarnishing the integrity of the troopers is their involvement in bribery, whereby they bribe the organizers with a promise to overlook the violation of the statute in exchange for contributions. Bribing not only jeopardizes the integrity and ethical standards of the troopers, but also exposes ABC Freightways to potential legal issues and reputational damage. ABC Freightways should respond to these ethical issues by turning the offer down and filing the conduct with appropriate incident authorities like internal affairs or even state attorneys under such a jurisdiction. Moreover, they will have to pledge their adherence to regulations and ethical conduct. They will also look for legal check-ups and pay attention regularly through legitimate and open channels.

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