Maine v. Taylor and United States


Maine passed a state regulation which outlawed out of staters or anyone from bringing in “out of state” baitfish into Maine’s fisheries.  The state of Maine contended that it passed the law in order to protect its ecology from parasites and also argued that its economic welfare was at stake from scientific evidence which suggested that out of state baitfish carrying parasites could destroy the fishing industry in the state.


Whether a state law that outlaws the transfer of batefish into its state is an unconstitutional violation of interstate commerce.


No, regulation upheld.  State laws that obstruct interstate commerce are not prima facia unconstitutional.  Where there is a legitimate state/local interest in protecting a “local concern,” the state may obstruct the free flow of interstate commerce.  The relevant law was sufficiently narrowly tailored, in that the legislature could not address the problem by any other means than discriminating against out of staters.

The scope of the problem is sufficient enough to justify the regulation.  Maine must take preventive action through the regulation, according to the court.  It cannot wait until its “fragile” fisheries are destroyed, nor could its economy sustain such a loss.

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