White v. Massachusetts Council of Construction Employers, Inc.

PETITIONER: White
RESPONDENT: Massachusetts Council of Construction Employers, Inc.
LOCATION: Family Court of Ulster County

DOCKET NO.: 81-1003
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

CITATION: 460 US 204 (1983)
ARGUED: Nov 01, 1982
DECIDED: Feb 28, 1983

ADVOCATES:
Laurence H. Tribe - on behalf of the Petitioners
Paul J. Kingston - on behalf of the Respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for White v. Massachusetts Council of Construction Employers, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 01, 1982 in White v. Massachusetts Council of Construction Employers, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 28, 1983 in White v. Massachusetts Council of Construction Employers, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in White against Massachusetts Council will be announced by Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

This case is here on a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

It's well established under our decisions that the Commerce Clause imposes restraints on the states where the states are trying to regulate the interstate marketplace.

But it's equally well settled that the Commerce Clause does not place limitations on states that are participating in the marketplace like any private business enterprise.

In this case, we're asked to decide whether the city of Boston is regulating the market or participating in it when it enters into construction contracts where its own funds will be used for building public projects.

We reached a different conclusion than did the state Supreme Court.

We have to determine that the city is participating in the market and therefore, the Commerce Clause is no obstacle to an executive order issued by the Mayor of Boston, requiring that the work force on these projects consist of at least one half Boston residents.

The Mayor's executive order also applies to public construction projects partly financed by the city with federal funds.

We have concluded that this application of the executive order would not be subject to any Commerce Clause limitations regardless of the city's rule.

It is well settled that laws enacted by Congress are not subject to the negative implications of the Commerce Clause.

In this case, the federal regulations for the relevant funding programs affirmatively permit the work force residency preference expressed in the Mayor's order.

Because of our conclusion that the Commerce Clause is not a barrier to the Mayor's executive order as applied in this case we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Justice Blackmun who was joined by Justice White has filed an opinion dissenting in part and concurring in part.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Justice Rehnquist.