National League of Cities v. Usery: Its Implications for the Equal Pay Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

In National League of Cities v. Usery, the Supreme Court invalidated the application of the FLSA minimum wage and maximum hours provisions to certain essential state government activities as an unconstitutional intrusion on state sovereignty. This article will explore the implications of that decision with respect to the application of the EPA and the ADEA to state and local governments.

Part I contains a brief discussion of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Amendments. Part II discusses National League with reference to traditional commerce clause interpretation. Part III analyzes the difficulties of applying the decision, particularly the problem of defining the essential state functions immunized by the tenth amendment from federal regulation. It is suggested that National League should be interpreted as requiring a balancing of the federal interest and the degree of federal intrusion against the state claim to immunity. While Part IV explains the background of the EPA and the ADEA, Part V discusses the effect of the National League decision on the application of the EPA and the ADEA to the states.