Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council

Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363 (2000), was a unanimous case in which the Supreme Court of the United States used the federal preemption doctrine to strike down the Massachusetts Burma Law, a law that effectively prohibited Massachusetts' governmental agencies from buying goods and services from companies conducting business with Myanmar (Burma), essentially a secondary boycott.[1] The Massachusetts Burma Law was modeled after similar legislation that had targeted the apartheid regime of South Africa.

Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued March 22, 2000
Decided June 19, 2000
Full case nameStephen P. Crosby, Secretary of Administration and Finance of Massachusetts, et al. v. National Foreign Trade Council
Citations530 U.S. 363 (more)
120 S. Ct. 2288; 147 L. Ed. 2d 352; 2000 U.S. LEXIS 4153
Case history
PriorNatl. Foreign Trade Council v. Baker, 26 F. Supp. 2d 287 (D. Mass. 1998); affirmed sub. nom., Nat'l Foreign Trade Council v. Natsios, 181 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 1999); cert. granted, 528 U.S. 1018 (1999).
The state Act is preempted and its application unconstitutional, under the Supremacy Clause.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
MajoritySouter, joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer
ConcurrenceScalia, joined by Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. VI

The Court reasoned that since the United States Congress passed a law imposing sanctions on Myanmar, the Massachusetts law "undermines the intended purpose and 'natural effect' of at least three provisions of the federal Act, that is, its delegation of effective discretion to the President to control economic sanctions against Burma, its limitation of sanctions solely to United States persons and new investment, and its directive to the President to proceed diplomatically in developing a comprehensive, multilateral strategy towards Burma."[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Young, Ernest A. 2006. "Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council." Federalism in America: An Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363 (2000).

Further readingEdit

  • Denning, Brannon P.; McCall, Jack H. (2000). "Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council. 120 S.Ct. 2288". American Journal of International Law. The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 94, No. 4. 94 (4): 750–758. doi:10.2307/2589803. JSTOR 2589803.
  • Stumberg, Robert; Porterfield, Matthew C. (2001). "Who Preempted the Massachusetts Burma Law? Federalism and Political Accountability under Global Trade Rules". Publius. Publius, Vol. 31, No. 3. 31 (3): 173–204. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.pubjof.a004903. JSTOR 3330999.

External linksEdit