Barnett Bank of Marion Cty., N. A. v. Nelson, 517 U.S. 25, 2 (1996)

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26

BARNETT BANK OF MARION CTY., N. A. v. NELSON

Syllabus

authority not normally limited by, but rather ordinarily pre-empting, contrary state law. See, e. g., First Nat. Bank of San Jose v. California, 262 U. S. 366, 368-369. Where, as here, Congress has not expressly conditioned the grant of power upon a grant of state permission, this Court has ordinarily found that no such condition applies. See Franklin Nat. Bank of Franklin Square v. New York, 347 U. S. 373. The State's argument that special circumstances surrounding the Federal Statute's enactment demonstrate Congress' intent to grant only a limited permission is unpersuasive. Pp. 30-37. (b) The McCarran-Ferguson Act's anti-pre-emption rule does not govern this case, because the Federal Statute "specifically relates to the business of insurance." This conclusion rests upon the Act's language and purposes, taken together. The word "relates" is highly general; and in ordinary English, the Federal Statute—which focuses directly upon industry-specific selling practices and affects the relation of insured to insurer and the spreading of risk—"specifically" relates to the insurance business. The Act's mutually reinforcing purposes—that state regulation and taxation of the insurance business are in the public interest, and that Congress' "silence . . . shall not be construed to impose any barrier to [such] regulation or taxation," 15 U. S. C. 1011 (emphasis added)—also support this view. This phrase, especially the word "silence," indicates that the Act seeks to protect state regulation primarily against inadvertent federal intrusion, not to insulate state insurance regulation from the reach of all federal law. The circumstances surrounding the Act's enactment also suggest that the Act was passed to ensure that generally phrased congressional statutes, which do not mention insurance, are not applied to the issuance of insurance policies, thereby interfering with state regulation in unanticipated ways. The parties' remaining arguments to the contrary are unconvincing. Pp. 37-43. 43 F. 3d 631, reversed.

Breyer, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Nathan Lewin argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Scott L. Nelson, James R. Heavner, Jr., and Richard E. Swartley.

Richard P. Bress argued the cause for the United States

et al. as amici curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Days, Assistant Attorney General Hunger, Deputy Solicitor General Bender, Edward C. DuMont, Anthony J. Steinmeyer, Jacob M. Lewis, Julie L.

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