State and Local Economic Sanctions: Constitutional Issues [February 20, 2013]   [open pdf - 354KB]

"States and localities have at times proposed or enacted measures restricting governmental transactions with entities doing business or having financial ties with foreign countries whose conduct is found objectionable, particularly because of terrorism or human rights concerns. This report summarizes constitutional arguments made for and against these laws and discusses the Supreme Court's decisions in 'Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council' and 'American Insurance Association v. Garamendi', where the Court addressed the permissibility of state laws having implications upon U.S. foreign affairs. The report also discusses a 2007 federal district court decision which held that an Illinois law that imposed sanctions upon Sudan was unconstitutional, along with a 2012 federal district court decision preliminarily enjoining the enforcement of a Florida statute which, among other things, restricts the state or local governments from entering contracts with certain entities that do business in Cuba. The report also suggests some possible legal ramifications of recent case law for future state and congressional action in this area, and summarizes recent federal enactments addressing state economic sanctions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33948
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