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Case Basics
Docket No. 
City of Philadelphia et al.
New Jersey et al.
(argued the cause for the appellants)
(argued the cause for the appellees)
Facts of the Case 

A New Jersey statute prohibited the importation of solid or liquid waste into the state, except for garbage for swine feed. The City of Philadelphia challenged the statute, alleging it was unconstitutional under the Commerce clause of Article I and pre-empted by the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. The New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the statute. Congress then passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.


(1) Does the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 pre-empt the New Jersey statute?

(2) Does the New Jersey's statute violate the Commerce Clause of Article I of the Constitution?

Decision: 5 votes for Philadelphia, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

Perhaps and not addressed. In a 5-4 per curiam opinion, the Court held that the pre-emption question "should be resolved before the constitutional issue." Since that question "depends primarily on statutory and not constitutional interpretation" of the 1976 Act, the case was remanded to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

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PHILADELPHIA v. NEW JERSEY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 02 September 2015. <>.
PHILADELPHIA v. NEW JERSEY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited September 2, 2015).
"PHILADELPHIA v. NEW JERSEY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 2, 2015,