Ray v. Atlantic Richfield Co.
In Ray v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 435 U.S. 151, 157 (1978), the U.S. Supreme Court emphasized its presumption against federal preemption of state law:
- The Court's prior cases indicate that when a State's exercise of its police power is challenged under the Supremacy Clause, "we start with the assumption that the historic police powers of the States were not to be superseded by the Federal Act unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress." Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230 (1947);Jones v. Rath Packing Co., 430 U.S. 519, 525 (1977). Under the relevant cases, one of the legitimate inquiries is whether Congress has either explicitly or implicitly declared that the States are prohibited from regulating the various aspects of oil-tanker operations and design with which the Tanker Law is concerned. As the Court noted in Rice, supra, at 230: "[The congressional] purpose may be evidenced in several ways. The scheme of federal regulation may be so pervasive as to make reasonable the inference that Congress left no room for the States to supplement it. Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Public Service Comm'n, 250 U.S. 566, 569; Cloverleaf Butter Co. v. Patterson, 315 U.S. 148. Or the Act of Congress may touch a field in which the federal interest is so dominant that the federal system will be assumed to preclude enforcement of state laws on the same subject. Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52. Likewise, the object sought to be obtained by the federal law and the character of obligations imposed by it may reveal the same purpose. Southern R. Co. v. Railroad Commission, 236 U.S. 439; Charleston & W.C.R. Co. v. Varnville Co., 237 U.S. 597; New York Central R. Co. v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 147; Napier v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., supra."
Justice Byron White wrote the opinion for the Court, and five Justices concurred and dissented in part.