Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reeves, Inc. v. William Stake case brief

Reeves, Inc. v. William Stake case brief summary
447 U.S. 429 (1980)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit entered judgment for defendant state in plaintiff out-of-state buyer's action alleging that the state's reaffirmation of a policy to sell cement to in-state residents first violated the Commerce Clause, U.S. Constitutional Article I, § 8, clause 3. The buyer appealed.

The state constructed a cement plant in response to a regional cement shortage. The plant began producing more cement than the state's residents could use, so it began selling the cement to out of state buyers. The buyer purchased cement from the plant. The demand for cement rose, while production was slowed. The state then reaffirmed its policy of supplying in-state customers first. The buyer initiated an action against the state alleging that the policy violated the Commerce Clause. The appellate court entered judgment for the state, finding that the state had simply acted in a proprietary capacity.


  • On appeal, the court upheld the state's decision limiting cement sales to in-state buyers. 
  • There was nothing in theCommerce Clause that prohibited the state from participating in the market and exercising such right in favor of its citizens. 
  • The state was not hoarding its resources. 
  • Cement was made from a combination of other raw materials. 
  • The state did not seek to limit access to those resources and materials used to make cement.
The court affirmed the decision because the state's policy did not violate the Commerce Clause.

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