Full Case Name:  State of INDIANA, et al., plaintiffs, v. Commonwealth of MASSACHUSETTS.

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Country of Origin:  United States Court Name:  Supreme Court of the United States Primary Citation:  202 L. Ed. 2d 564, 139 S. Ct. 859 (2019) Date of Decision:  Monday, January 7, 2019 Alternate Citation:  139 S.Ct. 859 (Mem) (U.S.,2019) Docket Num:  No. 149
Summary: A coalition of multiple states filed a lawsuit against Massachusetts in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirteen states, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, filed suit against the state of Massachusetts in response to the animal welfare laws created by Massachusetts Question 3. The states claimed to have direct standing to challenge the Massachusetts law because state agencies and instrumentalities own and operate farms that are subject to the Massachusetts law and wish to continue to sell products to other states, including Massachusetts. The states also claimed parens patriae standing on behalf of farmers and consumers within their borders that would be affected by the Massachusetts law. The plaintiff states filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that the Court declare the Massachusetts law unconstitutional. The Court denied the motion for leave to file a bill of complaint because hearing the case would not be an appropriate use of the Court’s original jurisdiction. The Court stated that, in order to resolve plaintiff’s challenge and address the issues of standing and the merits of the case, the Court would need to resolve complex factual disputes. The Court reasoned that such disputes are better suited to resolution in federal district court, not the U.S. Supreme Court.


Motion for leave to file a bill of complaint denied.

Justice THOMAS would grant the motion.

All Citations

139 S.Ct. 859 (Mem), 202 L.Ed.2d 564

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