Reno v. Condon, 528 U.S. 141 (2000)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fourth circuit

No. 98-1464. Argued November 10, 1999—Decided January 12, 2000

State departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) require drivers and automobile owners to provide personal information, which may include a person's name, address, telephone number, vehicle description, Social Security number, medical information, and photograph, as a condition of obtaining a driver's license or registering an automobile. Finding that many States sell this information to individuals and businesses for significant revenues, Congress enacted the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (DPPA), which establishes a regulatory scheme that restricts the States' ability to disclose a driver's personal information without the driver's consent. South Carolina law conflicts with the DPPA's provisions. Following the DPPA's enactment, South Carolina and its Attorney General filed this suit, alleging that the DPPA violates the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments to the United States Constitution. Concluding that the DPPA is incompatible with the principles of federalism inherent in the Constitution's division of power between the States and the Federal Government, the District Court granted summary judgment for the State and permanently enjoined the DPPA's enforcement against the State and its officers. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the DPPA violates constitutional principles of federalism.

Held: In enacting the DPPA, Congress did not run afoul of the federalism principles enunciated in New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, and Printz v. United States, 521 U. S. 898. The Federal Government correctly asserts that the DPPA is a proper exercise of Congress' authority to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause, U. S. Const., Art. I, 8, cl. 3. The motor vehicle information, which the States have historically sold, is used by insurers, manufacturers, direct marketers, and others engaged in interstate commerce to contact drivers with customized solicitations. The information is also used in the stream of interstate commerce by various public and private entities for matters related to interstate motoring. Because drivers' personal, identifying information is, in this context, an article of commerce, its sale or release into the interstate stream of business is sufficient to


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