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Chinatown Neighborhood Ass'n v. Harris

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20143
Nos. 14-1578, (9th Cir., 07/27/2015)

The Ninth Circuit upheld California's "shark fin law", which bans the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins within the state. An association claimed that the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act preempts the law. But they failed to identify any actual conflict between federal authority under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to manage shark fishing off the California coast and the California shark fin law. Likewise, the court rejected the association's claim that the law violates the Commerce Clause by interfering with interstate commerce in shark fins. Even when state law has significant extraterritorial effects, it passes Commerce Clause muster when, as here, those effects result from the regulation of in-state conduct. In addition, the law does not interfere with activity that is inherently national or that requires a uniform system of regulation. Accordingly, there is no significant interference with interstate commerce. The court therefore affirmed a lower court's dismissal of the case.