Freightliner Corp. v. Myrick, 514 U.S. 280, 8 (1995)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  Next

Cite as: 514 U. S. 280 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

minimum, objective safety standard required by 15 U. S. C. 1392(a) should be the absence of all standards, both federal and state.3 Rather, the lack of a federal standard stemmed from the decision of a federal court that the agency had not compiled sufficient evidence to justify its regulations.


Even if 1392(d) does not expressly extinguish state tort law, petitioners argue that respondents' lawsuits are preempted by implication because the state-law principle they seek to vindicate would conflict with federal law. We have recognized that a federal statute implicitly overrides state law either when the scope of a statute indicates that Congress intended federal law to occupy a field exclusively, English v. General Elec. Co., 496 U. S. 72, 78-79 (1990), or when state law is in actual conflict with federal law. We have found implied conflict pre-emption where it is "impossible for a private party to comply with both state and federal requirements," id., at 79, or where state law "stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress." Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U. S. 52, 67 (1941).


As an initial matter, we must address the argument that we need not reach the conflict pre-emption issue at all. According to respondents and the Court of Appeals, Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 505 U. S. 504 (1992), held that implied pre-emption cannot exist when Congress has chosen to include an express pre-emption clause in a statute. This argument is without merit. In Cipollone we did hold that the

3 Because no federal safety standard exists, we need not reach respondents' argument that the term "standard" in 15 U. S. C. 1392(d) pre-empts only state statutes and regulations, but not common law. We also need not address respondents' claim that the saving clause, 1397(k), does not permit a manufacturer to use a federal safety standard to immunize itself from state common-law liability.


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007