Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 28 (1992)

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Cite as: 504 U. S. 298 (1992)

Opinion of White, J.


The Court next launches into an uncharted and treacherous foray into differentiating between the "nexus" requirements under the Due Process and Commerce Clauses. As the Court explains: "Despite the similarity in phrasing, the nexus requirements of the Due Process and Commerce Clauses are not identical. The two standards are animated by different constitutional concerns and policies." Ante, at 312. The due process nexus, which the Court properly holds is met in this case, see ante, at Part III, "concerns the fundamental fairness of governmental activity." Ante, at 312. The Commerce Clause nexus requirement, on the other hand, is "informed not so much by concerns about fairness for the individual defendant as by structural concerns about the effects of state regulation on the national economy." Ibid.

Citing Complete Auto, the Court then explains that the Commerce Clause nexus requirement is not "like due process' 'minimum contacts' requirement, a proxy for notice, but rather a means for limiting state burdens on interstate commerce." Ante, at 313. This is very curious, because parts two and three of the Complete Auto test, which require fair apportionment and nondiscrimination in order that interstate commerce not be unduly burdened, now appear to become the animating features of the nexus requirement, which is the first prong of the Complete Auto inquiry. The Court freely acknowledges that there is no authority for this novel interpretation of our cases and that we have never before found, as we do in this case, sufficient contacts for due process purposes but an insufficient nexus under the Commerce Clause. See ante, at 313-314, and n. 6.

The majority's attempt to disavow language in our opinions acknowledging the presence of due process require-Mobil Oil Corp. v. Commissioner of Taxes of Vt., 445 U. S. 425, 437 (1980), the Court cited Bellas Hess for the due process requirements necessary to sustain a tax. In my view, these citations hardly signal the continuing support of Bellas Hess that the majority seems to find persuasive.


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