In September 1980, the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources of Alaska (defendant) announced that the department would sell approximately forty-nine million board-feet of timber in Icy Cape, Alaska in October, 1980. However, the contract for sale required that all timber sold must be processed within the State of Alaska before being shipped outside the state. South-Central Timber Development, Inc. (plaintiff) was an Alaska-based timber retailer that did not operate an Alaska mill and sold primarily unprocessed timber to exclusively out-of-state clients. South-Central brought suit in district court seeking to enjoin enforcement of the in-state processing requirement on the grounds that it violated the dormant Commerce Clause. The district court agreed and granted the injunction, but the court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.