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Federal Authority To Regulate Interstate Commerce Surges Again


The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority that the Fair Labor Standards Act does apply to state and local employees. Reversing its 1976 holding in Usery, the Court concludes that this extension of the fair labor law is appropriate under the federal government’s constitutionally delegated commerce clause power after all. The Court bases its ruling in part on the fact that because Congress is made up of representatives from each of the states, legislation enacted by Congress takes states’ rights into account. Unless the states can show that the federal lawmaking process is defective in some way, the Court rules, the 10th Amendment is not violated.