NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES v. USERY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
74-878
Petitioner 
Usery
Respondent 
National League of Cities
Consolidation 
California v. Usery, No. 74-879
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
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Facts of the Case 

In 1974, Congress passed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The purpose of the amendments was to regulate minimum wage and overtime pay for state and local government employees. The National League of Cities, as well as several states and cities, challenged the constitutionality of the amendments.

Question 

May Congress, acting under its commerce power, regulate the labor market of state employees, which the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for National League of Cities, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 3: Interstate Commerce Clause

Congress may not regulate the labor market of state employees. The Tenth Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting legislation which operates "to directly displace the States' freedom to structure integral operations in areas of traditional governmental functions." While the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause is "plenary," that power has constitutional limits. In this case, the exercise of the commerce power ran afoul of the Tenth Amendment which protects the states' traditional activities.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES v. USERY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1974/1974_74_878>.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES v. USERY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1974/1974_74_878 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES v. USERY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1974/1974_74_878.