Constitutional Law: Federalism: Supremacy Clause

  • Supremacy Clause (Art. VI, Sec. 2) – even the most trivial of federal laws predominates over the most important state laws. (2 doctrines: Preemption and Supersession).
    • Preemption: When Congress intends to occupy a given field, any conflicting state law is invalid. (aviation = area where Cong. intends to occupy a field).
    • Supersession: A federal law will supersede any state law which is in direct conflict.
      • EX: Fl passes law prohibiting sale of diet drug by prescription. Congress delegates commerce power to FDA à FDA issues administrative order which does the opposite of the state law. There’s a direct conflict. FDA supersedes conflicting state law.
      • EX: OK law saying all beef at restaurants must be cooked to minimum temperature of 165 degrees, but federal law said that all beef must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 150 degrees. Valid? YES. No supersession. OK law upheld because federal law was only establishing a minimum standard. OK wanted to give citizens greater protection.