“The Ninth Circuit skirted its duty to uphold the supremacy of federal law.”
John Masslon, WLF Senior Litigation Counsel

Click here for WLF’s brief.

WASHINGTON, DC— Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which the Ninth Circuit placed state law over federal law. In an amicus brief, WLF argues that Supreme Court review is necessary to clarify how federal preemption advances federalism principles and to vindicate Congress’s goals in passing the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA).

The case arises from a declaratory judgment action filed by owner-operator truck drivers and a trucking association. California uses the ABC test to classify workers as independent contractors or employees. Because truck drivers are key to motor carriers’ businesses, the ABC test classifies all truck drivers as employees. The plaintiffs argued that the FAAAA preempts applying the ABC test to motor carriers. The Ninth Circuit rejected this argument and held that California could apply the ABC test to motor carriers.

In its brief supporting the petitioners, WLF argues that Supreme Court review is needed to clarify how federal preemption of state laws like the ABC test advances core federalism principles. Because the States ceded power over interstate commerce to the federal government, no vertical federalism concerns arise. Preemption also advances horizontal federalism principles by stopping California from imposing its views on other States.

WLF’s brief also explains how holding that the FAAAA preempts California from applying the ABC test to motor carriers advances one of Congress’s aims in passing the preemption provision—promoting free enterprise.  WLF therefore urges the Supreme Court to hear this case and remind the Ninth Circuit that federal law trumps state law.

Celebrating its 44th year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.