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equally doubtful whether the Court would find that the ball directly io pairs the state's ability to structure its integral operations and thus the
third test would arguably not be met.
The only case in which federal legis
lation was struck down pursuant to the above tests was when a federal law
required that state employees, including police and fire fighters, be provided, among other requirements, pay at one and one-half times their regular rate for overtime. In reviewing this situation, the Court concluded that this would displace the state's ability to structure its employer-er ployee relations in vital areas, such as law enforcement, which was a part
of the government and services which state governments are expected to
The sale of alcohol to those persons under the age of twenty-one would
not seem to fall within an area of exclusive state interest or control, nor to
38/ lopair a state's ability to function as a state. By analogy, the Court has also upheld application of federal age discrimination laws to state enployees,
39/ since such laws did not displace important state policies. Even in the rather
37/ National League, 426 C.s. 633, 851 (1976).
38/ See, United Transportation Union v. Long Island Railroad Co., 455 U.S. 678, 686 (1982).
39/ EEOC v, Wyoming, 103 S.Ct. 1054 (1983).
unlikely event that the sale of alcoholic beverages to young people was found
to be a vital state function, the balancing test set forth as test 4 above in
National League night well result in the Court upholding Congress' ability
to enact the bill, since the federal interest in improving the safety of Interstate transportation by reducing drunken driving is of arguably compel
From our analysis of the bill. it appears that it would probably sur
vive constitutional challenges.
However, only a judicial review could
absolutely determine its constitutionality.
The report has examined
the bill within the context of three areas of the Constitution:
First Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Tenth Amendment.
An analysis of the Twenty-First Amendment's legislative history and
subsequent judicial interpretations lead to the conclusion that the bill
18 probably constitutional from the point of view of this Amendment.
It seems likely that the "federalist" approach to the Amendment, which
preserves federal control over liquor, would be persuasive for judicial
interpretation and this position would arguably support the constitutionality
of the bill.
In its most recent examination of the Amendment, the Supreme
Court proposed a sort of balancing test, examining the competing federal
and state interests.
(California Retail Liquor Dealers Association v.
Midcal Aluminum, Inc., 445 U.S. 97 (1980)). Applying the Midcal balancing
test to the bill, it appears that a strong argument can be made in favor
of the constitutionality of the bill.
Under the bill, the state interest in
being able to provide alcohol to persons under the age of twenty-one would
not seem compelling, while the federal interest in eliminating drunken driv
ing may be so found.
Congress clearly has the power to regulate the commerce under the
The Court has examined and upheld a wide variety of legis
lation which was enacted to protect the public from certain dangers. A
"rational basis" test has been developed in determining the constitution
alty of such legislation.
In applying the rational basis test, it must be
determined whether the congressional legislative scheme which regulates
the activity affecting interstate commerce really has a rational basis.
Applying this test to the bill, it may reasonably be postulated, on the
basis of the developed legislative history, that the regulated activity
the control of alcohol with the aim of reducing drunken driving- affect
interstate commerce and therefore is rational in the constitutional
Nor does it appear that the Tenth Amendment may be an impediment to the
constitutionality of the legislation.
National League of Cities articu
lated a four-step test which must be met for federal legislation to be deem
ed unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment.
It does not appear that
the criteria set forth in that case would apply to invalidate the bill
under the Tenth Amendment.
Doualas Reid Wear
Douglas Reid Weimer