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Raymond Kassel v. Consolidated Freightways Corp. of Delaware

United States Supreme Court
450 U.S. 662 (1981)


An Iowa statute restricted the length of most truck combinations to 55 feet or less, with some exceptions provided for mobile homes, doubles, and livestock transportation vehicles. Additionally, cities located on the Iowa state line abutting other states were permitted to adopt the truck length regulations of either state. Finally, deliverers of trucks or oversized mobile homes were required to obtain a permit before shipping their goods over state lines. Consolidated Freightways Corp. of Delaware (plaintiff) was a transportation company engaged in interstate commerce through Iowa state lines. It sued Raymond Kassel (defendant), the state official tasked with enforcing the Iowa state regulations, in district court seeking to enjoin enforcement of the state law. Iowa defended its statute on the grounds that 55 foot single trailers were demonstrably safer than 65 foot double trailers and other large vehicles, and that the law served legitimate state safety objectives by diverting traffic outside the state. The district court disagreed, finding that 65 foot trailers were no more dangerous than 55 foot vehicles, and that Iowa gained very little local benefits from the law in comparison with the significant burdens the law placed on interstate commerce. It invalidated the Iowa statute, but the court of appeals reversed. Consolidated Freightways Corp. appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

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