General Considerations.

Transition from the old law to the modern standard occurred relatively smoothly in the field of regulation,1054 but in the area of taxation the passage was choppy and often witnessed retreats and advances.1055 In any event, both taxation and regulation now are evaluated under a judicial balancing formula comparing the burden on interstate commerce with the importance of the state interest, save for discriminatory state action that cannot be justified at all.


Formulation of a balancing test was achieved in Southern Pacific Co. v. Arizona, 325 U.S. 761 (1945), and was thereafter maintained more or less consistently. The Court’s current phrasing of the test was in Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., 397 U.S. 137 (1970). back
Indeed, scholars dispute just when the modern standard was firmly adopted. The conventional view is that it was articulated in Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady, 430 U.S. 274 (1977), but there also seems little doubt that the foundation of the present law was laid in Northwestern States Portland Cement Co. v. Minnesota, 358 U.S. 450 (1959). back