General Considerations.

The task of drawing the line be- tween state power and the commercial interest has proved a comparatively simple one in the field of foreign commerce, the two things being in great part territorially distinct.1012 With “commerce among the States” affairs are very different. Interstate commerce is conducted in the interior of the country, by persons and corporations that are ordinarily engaged also in local business; its usual incidents are acts that, if unconnected with commerce among the states, would fall within the state’s powers of police and taxation, while the things it deals in and the instruments by which it is carried on comprise the most ordinary subject matter of state power. In this field, the Court consequently has been unable to rely upon sweeping solutions. To the contrary, its judgments have often been fluctuating and tentative, even contradictory, and this is particularly the case with respect to the infringement of interstate commerce by the state taxing power.1013

Footnotes

1012
See J. HELLERSTEIN & W. HELLERSTEIN, STATE AND LOCAL TAXATION: CASES AND MATERIALS (8th ed. 2005), ch. 5. [Back to text]
1013
In addition to the sources previously cited, see J. HELLERSTEIN & W. HELLERSTEIN (8th ed.), ch. 5, supra. For a succinct description of the history, see Hellerstein, State Taxation of Interstate Business: Perspectives on Two Centuries of Constitutional Adjudication, 41 TAX LAW. 37 (1987). [Back to text]