MINNESOTA v. CLOVER LEAF CREAMERY CO.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
79-1171
Petitioner 
Minnesota
Respondent 
Clover Leaf Creamery Co.
Advocates
(on behalf of the Respondents)
(on behalf of the Petitioner)
(on behalf of the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
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Facts of the Case 

Minnesota enacted a statute prohibiting the sale of milk and milk products in non-refillable, non-returnable plastic containers. Clover Leaf Creamery sued to overturn the law. A Minnesota District Court found that the statute did not fulfill the legislature's purpose. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the decision.

Question 

Did the Minnesota statute violate the Commerce clause of Article I or the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Minnesota, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

No and no. Writing for the majority in a 7-1 decision, Justice William J. Brennan Jr. maintained that Minnesota's statute was not unconstitutional, acknowledging that the legislature had an interest in promoting resource conservation and resolving solid waste disposal issues. The difference between non-reusable plastic containers and paper or reusable plastic containers was "rationally related" to the legislature's purpose, and therefore not unconstitutional under the rational basis test set forth in New Orleans v. Dukes. The statute banned sale of all milk in the specified containers and did not distinguish by seller, and therefore did not violate the commerce clause. Justice Powell wrote an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

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MINNESOTA v. CLOVER LEAF CREAMERY CO.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_79_1171>.
MINNESOTA v. CLOVER LEAF CREAMERY CO., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_79_1171 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"MINNESOTA v. CLOVER LEAF CREAMERY CO.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_79_1171.