United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority
In a case addressing whether solid waste "flow control" laws violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the US Supreme Court decided in favor of our clients, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority and Oneida and Herkimer counties in New York State. Waste management companies had sued the Authority, which is a public entity, and the Counties, alleging that the flow control laws violated the Commerce Clause by discriminating against interstate commerce. The Counties' laws required that all solid waste collected in the Counties be delivered to the Authority's processing facilities.
In the district court case that was appealed to the Supreme Court, Analysis Group academic affiliate Professor Robert Stavins of Harvard University filed a report providing an economic analysis of the flow control laws. He found that, while the laws removed processing of the Counties' waste from private commerce, they did not place a greater burden on out-of-state interests, relative to similarly situated in-state interests. Professor Stavins also examined the laws' public benefits to inform the application of the Pike test, which is used to evaluate the constitutionality of laws "directed to legitimate local concerns, with effects upon interstate commerce that are only incidental." He identified several public benefits, which were recognized by the Supreme Court in its majority decision, including the fact that the laws improved the Counties' ability to enforce recycling ordinances.