Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


In a 9-0 decision handed down in 2000, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts selective purchasing law that restricted state agencies from trading with companies doing business in Burma. The Court based its decision on the narrow grounds that the law violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In the wake of so limited a decision, a number of constitutional questions remain unanswered regarding the rights of states to enact laws intruding upon federal foreign affairs.

This article examines three of the main areas of constitutional challenges to state actions in the foreign affairs arena from current orthodox and revisionist perspectives. In particular, the Supremacy Clause, the Foreign Commerce Clause, and the federal government's exclusive foreign affairs powers are examined in the wake of Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council.