Dormant Commerce Clause Law and Legal Definition

Dormant commerce clause refers to a constitutional principle that is inferred from the commerce clause. The dormant commerce clause provides that the exclusive power granted to Congress through commerce clause, implies a negative consequence. The negative consequence is a restriction prohibiting a state from passing legislation that improperly discriminates against interstate commerce. Therefore, the dormant commerce clause limits the power individual states to legislate on such matters. Dormant commerce clause is not an express clause in the U.S. Constitution. It is, rather, a doctrine developed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The dormant clause doctrine is also known as negative commerce clause.

The following is an example of a case law defining dormant commerce clause:

Dormant commerce clause means differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter. The discrimination may be explicit on the face of the law or contained within the law's effect or purpose. [Zenith/Kremer Waste Sys. v. Western Lake Superior Sanitary Dist., 572 N.W.2d 300 (Minn. 1997)].