Columbus v. Ours Garage & Wrecker Service, Inc., 536 U.S. 424, 2 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 424 (2002)


(a) Had 14501(c) contained no reference at all to "political subdivision[s] of a State," 14501(c)(2)(A)'s exception for exercises of the "safety regulatory authority of a State" undoubtedly would have embraced both state and local regulation under Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, 501 U. S. 597. It was there held that the exclusion of political subdivisions cannot be inferred from a federal law's express authorization to the "States" to take action, for such subdivisions are components of the very entity the statute empowers, and are created as convenient agencies to exercise such of the State's powers as it chooses to entrust to them, id., at 607-608. This case is a closer call than Mor-tier because, in contrast to 14501(c)(2)(A)'s singularly bare reference to "[s]tate" authority, almost every other provision of 14501 links States and their political subdivisions. Nevertheless, that does not mean that Congress intended to limit the exception to States alone, as respondents contend. Respondents rely on Russello v. United States, 464 U. S. 16, 23, in which the Court observed that, where particular language is included in one section of a federal statute but omitted from another, Congress is generally presumed to have acted intentionally and purposely. Reading 14501(c)'s exceptions in combination and context, however, leads the Court to conclude that 14501 does not provide the requisite "clear and manifest indication that Congress sought to supplant local authority." Mortier, 501 U. S., at 611. Section 14501(c)(2)(C) refers to the "authority of a State or a political subdivision of a State to enact or enforce" regulations in particular areas, wording which parallels that of 14501(c)(1). Accord, 14501(c)(3). This parallel structure does not imply, however, that 14501(c)(2)(A)'s concise statement must be read to use the term "State" restrictively. In contrast to 14501(c)(2)(C) and (c)(3), neither the safety exception, 14501(c)(2)(A), nor the exception for the transportation of household goods, 14501(c)(2)(B), refers to the "authority . . . to enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision." The Russello presumption—that the presence of a phrase in one provision and its absence in another reveals Congress' design—grows weaker with each difference in the formulation of the provisions under inspection. Furthermore, the Court notes, 14501(c)(1) preempts the power of both States and localities to "enact or enforce" rules related to the "price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property"; reading the term "State" in 14501(c)(2)(A) to exclude localities would prevent those units not only from enacting such rules but also from enforcing them, even when such rules were enacted by the state legislature. Finally, resort to the Russello presumption here would yield a decision at odds with our federal system's traditional comprehension of the regulatory authority of a State. Local governmental units are cre-


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