American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles: Oral Argument – April 16, 2013

American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles: Oral Argument - April 16, 2013

Facts:
In 1997, the Port of Los Angeles (“the Port”) introduced a plan to expand its cargo terminals to better accommodate its high shipping volume. Following public concern that the plan could significantly increase air pollution, the Board of Harbor Commissioners adopted a Clean Air Action Plan (“CAAP”). The CAAP aimed to reduce emissions and specifically targeted the Port’s drayage truck business. Roughly 16,000 drayage trucks regularly serve the Port, transporting goods between customers and the cargo terminals. Beginning in 2008, the CAAP banned drayage trucks from the Port, unless the carriers entered into a series of concession agreements. These agreements imposed a progressive ban on older trucks and provided incentives for drayage truck operators to convert their aging fleets to cleaner trucks.

American Trucking Associations (“ATA”), a national association of motor carriers, challenged several provisions within the concession agreements and brought suit against the City of Los Angeles and its Harbor Department. ATA argued that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAA”) preempted the agreements. The FAAA Act prohibits a state from enacting any regulation related to the “price, route, or service of any motor carrier.” ATA claimed that the concession agreements amounted to such a regulation. ATA further argued that the State could not limit a federally licensed motor carrier’s access to a port.

The district court disagreed with ATA and held that none of the provisions were preempted; ATA appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appellate court determined that when the Port was acting as a market participant, rather than a market regulator, the FAAA Act did not apply. ATA appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which granted certiorari limited to the two questions below.

Question:
Can a municipal government limit the activities of motor carriers when it acts as a market participant, as opposed to a market regulator?

Can a municipal government bar federally licensed motor carriers from access to a port?

Conclusion:
No, and the Court declined to address the issue of whether a municipal government can ban federally licensed motor carriers’ access to the ports. Justice Elena Kegan delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. The Court held that the FAAA Act draws a rough line between a government’s exercise of regulatory power and its own contract-based participation in a market. In this case, the government was not acting as a private participant in a contract but was wielding coercive power over private companies by threatening criminal punishment. The Court held that these actions clearly fit within the FAAA Act’s prohibition on government regulating the “price, route, or service of any motor carrier.” Contractual commitments resulting from the threat of criminal sanctions rather than ordinary bargaining clearly represent the government taking on a regulatory role.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in which he noted that the FAAA Act’s provision giving the federal government authority over intrastate commerce raises serious Constitutional concerns because the Constitution explicitly limits Congress’ regulatory power to interstate commerce. However, because neither party raised a constitutional challenge to the FAAA Act, Justice Thomas joined with the majority.

For more information about this case see: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/11-798

Section 1: 00:00:05
Section 2: 00:16:22
Section 3: 00:26:47
Section 4: 00:56:46

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American Trucking Association CEO Chris Spear on the potential impact of semi-autonomous rigs on the trucking industry and jobs.
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19 thoughts on “American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles: Oral Argument – April 16, 2013

  • September 15, 2017 at 11:09 am
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    TL;DR VERSION
    This doesn't have to be a disaster, but it probably will be, because people are dumb.

    LONGER VERSION
    It would be possible to enact policies which will protect people (like truckers but others as well) in case of technological unemployment. But we probably won't enact such policies, for the following reasons:

    1) Lots of people whistling past the graveyard, saying, "This is science fiction; it'll never happen!" Well if it'll never happen then we don't need to do anything about it, do we? And then if it DOES happen, oops.

    2) The assumption that technology always creates more jobs than it destroys. So, the problem will take care of itself and we don't need to do anything. This has been the tendency in the past, but it isn't a law of nature. Also, the new jobs created are often ones which the newly unemployed are not qualified to do. It doesn't help truckers if two million of them lose there jobs and three million jobs are created for quantum computer technicians. Yes, some truckers may know how to do that or are in the process of learning it, but most are not. Also…

    3) The assumption that "They can just retrain for another job." So, we don't need to do anything about it, because the solution is already out there. And how do they pay the bills and feed the kids while they're in school? How do they pay for school if they don't have jobs? We could enact policies to deal with these questions, but we won't if we insist that it's as easy as "go back to school" without looking at the broader picture of what that means.

    4) Some people seem to think that the companies which hire truckers actually care about them, and thus won't fire them because they need the job. So, we don't need to do anything about it. Get this straight, people: your company does not care about you. They do not care about your job. They don't care if you have kids to feed. They don't care if you have a sick parent. They don't care if you have student loans. They will keep you on the job as long as it is profitable for them to do so, and they will lay you off as soon as it is profitable to do so. If the economy slows down and there is less trucking to do, they will lay you off. If the cost of shipping via rail or air goes down so there is less trucking to do, they will lay you off. And if a computer comes along which can do the job better AND CHEAPER, they will lay you off and put the computer in charge of the rig instead of you. If the computer can't do it all alone but it makes it possible for three truckers to do the work of four, then they will get rid of a quarter of their truckers and keep the other three-fourths… until it's more economical not to.

    5) The people and institutions which could make new policies (unions, government) are largely weakened and distrusted. There is unlikely to be a new regulation requiring companies to pay for retraining of laid-off truckers (or even just giving them a month's notice) if all the people in power firmly believe that regulations are inherently evil. A union is unlikely to get something like that into contracts if unions can safely be ignored.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 11:36 am
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    For the retards among us… All of which can operated 100% automated, but will always require pilots, captains, engineers, and drivers. All because a lil word called liability. Truckers do not worry.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    Great technology

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm
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    John conelly nice joke of a post you idiot. Millions of jobs not spending millions of dollars in a economy will only drag it down more. Pasive idiots like you. Ohh I will just go get another job . Sorry bro we are all headed towards Venezuela economics. Jobs produces and cycles the money protecting America from economic disaster

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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    Comouter simulated training improved driving technique? Voice recognition technology eliminated keyboard out of computer and smartphone? This technology can help driving on freeway but, it will not replace drivers forever. This technology is too complicated. It is like saying everybody travel to moon very cheap. It is unlikely.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    This is like what Twoface says in the movie Dark knight – "Everything will be alright."

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm
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    History lesson for all you afraid truckers.  The first ship invented was 2613 BC, Plane  1903, Train 1804, and Truck 1898.  All of which can be operated today, 100% Autonomous.  But none are.  Don't panic my friends,our jobs are secured.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 2:10 pm
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    Autonomous vehicles including trucks will change much of the workforce and jobs, not just truck drivers. This guy doesn't seem to know what he's talking about

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm
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    Eld's have already choked my small business. Swift and Knight merger is going to have another effect on trucking like lowering driver pay. Railroads can have a big effect on moving freight if they only wished to invest more into it. He said the trucks will have to communicate with other cars and trucks. How about pedestrians, dogs, bicyclist, turtles, deer. How about negotiating a wide turn at a very sharp turn that the navigation gps sends you on. Its called driver assist and it will be for another 50 years unless Elon Musk can miraculously make a semi trucks fly. These people are full of Bull Sh@#$t!!! Because they want your tax dollars to invent this kind of things and besides they've been always able to squander tax payer dollars before.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm
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    what ????????? truckers are screwed

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm
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    A A380 can fly from dulles to Paris by itself also. Do you really think airlines will stick 400 souls in a pilot less aluminum tube?

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm
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    This will only benefit drivers. Truck drivers aren't going anywhere.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm
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    ok as someone who holds my class a cdl and will be a truck driver real soon for one thing it be a lot more than 2 billion job losses of truck drivers, and one reason why there is a truck driver shortage is because of dot and all the regulations etc etc, also some feel that we are not respected out here whether it be by the company or the fellow motorist aka you stupid 4 wheelers that are always cutting us off and brake checking us which only proves you don't know how to drive, but for you news people that obviousally don't know nothing on trucking how can you sit there and say it would actually bring jobs how is a truck driver gonna have a job if the truck drives itself? besides the obvious stuff like fueling it,hooking up the airlines etc, at least the news guy got something right its still more than likely a ways off into the future

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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    Bullshit! There will be other job losses related to the industry. Trump will do nothing on this saying he bring back jobs

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  • September 15, 2017 at 6:31 pm
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    Cry over the horse and buggy drivers that got replaced by cars? Adapt or die. Computers are taking over all jobs so don't be scared.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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    There is a driver shortage because the regulations are insane and the trucking companies are heartless toward drivers. Many of the safety issues would be eliminated if the law held trucking companies and four-wheelers accountable for their actions against truckers.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm
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    What a load of BS!

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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    I was a tollbooth worker before transponder tags made my job obsolete. Was I angry at this new technology? Nope, there's a tag on all of my vehicles, I attended vocational training and became a truck driver. I make much more than I did with also more purposeful work. If self driving trucks eventually replace me then I'll have to adjust to the demands of the market and start a new career, something even better. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that although technology is an irresistible (and sometimes intimidating) force, it's nothing to be scared of. The tree that bends survives the storm.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2017 at 7:45 pm
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    I am a truck driver.. So FUCK YOU!!! that's my job you're Fucking with..

    Reply

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