Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp.

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Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp.
Argued January 21, 1976
Decided June 24, 1976
Full case nameHarry R. Hughes, Secretary of Transportation of Maryland, et al.
v. Alexandria Scrap Corporation
Citations426 U.S. 794 (more)
96 S. Ct. 2488; 49 L. Ed. 2d 220; 1976 U.S. LEXIS 136
Case history
PriorAlexandria Scrap Corp. v. Hughes, 391 F. Supp. 46 (D. Md. 1975); probable jurisdiction noted, 423 U.S. 819 (1975).
The Maryland statute does not constitute an impermissible burden on interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun · Lewis F. Powell Jr.
William Rehnquist · John P. Stevens
Case opinions
MajorityPowell, joined by Burger, Stewart, Blacknum, Rehnquist, Stevens
DissentBrennan, joined by White, Marshall

Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U.S. 794 (1976), was a case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.[1] Maryland created a program that, 1) purchased junked cars, 2) paid a bounty for those with Maryland license plates and, 3) imposed more stringent documentation requirements on out-of-state processors, in an effort to reduce the number of abandoned cars in Maryland.

The Issue before the Court is whether such a program violates the Dormant Commerce Clause—essentially, whether Maryland could Constitutionally discriminate or burden interstate commerce by imposing more stringent documentation requirements on out-of-state processors or favoring in-state car dealerships when they purchase junk cars.

Unlike previous Dormant Commerce Clause cases, Maryland was acting like a market participant (as opposed to a state regulator). In such instances, the Court determined that a state actor can favor its own citizens over the foreign citizens.

This case created the "market participant" exception to the general restrictions on states imposed by the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Determining when a state is acting like a "market participant" rather than as a regulator was not decided by this case, but found in South Central Timber Development v. Wunnicke.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U.S. 794 (1976).
  2. ^ South Central Timber Development v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82 (1984).

External links[edit]