Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association

PETITIONER: Gade
RESPONDENT: National Solid Wastes Management Association
LOCATION: Seattle Audobon Society

DOCKET NO.: 90-1676
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 505 US 88 (1992)
ARGUED: Mar 23, 1992
DECIDED: Jun 18, 1992

ADVOCATES:
Donald T. Bliss - on behalf of the Respondent
John W. Simon - on behalf of the Petitioner
John A. Simon - for petitioner
William K. Kelley - on behalf of the United States as amicus curiae, supporting the Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 23, 1992 in Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 18, 1992 in Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 90-1676, Gade versus National Solid Waste Management Association will be announced by Justice O'Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

This case comes here on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration pursuant to its authority in the Occupational Safety and Health Act promulgated regulations for the initial and routine training of workers who handle hazardous wastes.

Subsequently, the State of Illinois enacted two laws requiring the licensing of workers at certain hazardous waste facilities.

The respondent, National Solid Waste Management Association, brought a declaratory judgment action in Federal District Court claiming that the state laws were preempted by the Occupational Safety Act than the regulations promulgated under that Act.

The District Court held the state acts were not preempted because they protected public safety in addition to promoting job safety.

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed holding that the occupational Safety and Health Act preempts all state law that constitutes in a direct, clear, and substantial way regulation of worker health and safety unless the Secretary of Labor has expressly approved the law, the state law pursuant to Section 18 of the Federal Act.

In the opinion filed with the Clerk today, we affirm the Seventh Circuit.

In part two of our opinion, a plurality of the Court holds that the Occupational Safety and Health Act impliedly preempts any state regulation of an occupational safety or health issue with respect to which, a federal standard has been established unless a state plan has been approved by the Secretary of Labor.

In parts three and four of the opinion, a majority of the Court holds that a sate law requirement that directly, substantially, and specifically regulates occupational safety and health is an occupational safety and health standard within the meaning of the Federal Act regardless of whether it has another non-occupational purpose.

Thus, we hold that the state licensing acts in this case are preempted by the Federal Act to the extent they establish occupational safety and health standards for the training of those people working with hazardous wastes.

Justice Kennedy has written an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment; Justice Souter has filed a dissenting opinion which is joined by Justices Blackmun, Stevens, and Thomas.