Thursday, November 14, 2013

New York v. United States case brief

New York v. United States case brief summary
05 U.S. 144 (1992)

Petitioners, the State of New York and two counties, appealed from a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which upheld monetary incentive, access incentive, and take title provisions of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2021b et seq.

Congress, in an effort to combat a burgeoning radioactive waste disposal problem, passed the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2021b et seq.The Act included monetary incentives, access incentives, and a take title provision, which offered states the option of taking title to and possession of low level radioactive waste generated within their borders and assuming liability for damages that waste generators suffer due to the states' tardiness. New York sued, claiming that the Act violated U.S. Constitutional Amendment X.


  • The Supreme Court, after granting certiorari, declared the Act unconstitutional in part, holding that 
  • (a) monetary incentives constituted permissible exercises of congressional power under the Commerce, Taxing, and Spending Clauses of the Constitution; 
  • (b) access incentives represented permissible conditional exercise of Congress' commerce power; but 
  • (c) the take title clause exceeded U.S. Constitutional Amendment X restrictions, because the take title incentive was not an exercise of congressional power enumerated in the Constitution.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part; monetary and access incentives were permissible exercises of Congressional power under the commerce, tax, and spending clauses, but the take title provision violated U.S. Constitutional Amendment X because it was coercive.

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