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State and Local Government Law

2021

Federalism

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Federalism, Free Competition, And Sherman Act Preemption Of State Restraints, Alan J. Meese Oct 2021

Federalism, Free Competition, And Sherman Act Preemption Of State Restraints, Alan J. Meese

Faculty Publications

The Sherman Act establishes free competition as the rule governing interstate trade. Banning private restraints cannot ensure that competitive markets allocate the nation's resources. State laws can pose identical threats to free markets, posing an obstacle to achieving Congress's goal to protect free competition.

The Sherman Act would thus override anticompetitive state laws under ordinary preemption standards. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court rejected such preemption in Parker v. Brown, creating the "state action doctrine." Parker and its progeny hold that state-imposed restraints are immune from Sherman Act preemption, even if they impose significant harm on out-of-state consumers. Parker's progeny …