Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus
Decision, Allied Is Finished With Minnesota--but Not Vice Versa, Not A "dead Letter"
Allied Structural Steel Company, an Illinois corporation
Warren Spannaus, Attorney General of Minnesota
That a Minnesota statute governing pensions and benefits protection violated the Contract Clause in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution.
Chief Lawyer for Petitioner
George B. Christensen
Chief Lawyer for Respondent
Byron E. Starns, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Minnesota
Justices for the Court
Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Potter Stewart (writing for the Court)
William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Byron R. White (Harry A. Blackmun did not participate)
Date of Decision
28 June 1978
Until United States Trust Co. v. New Jersey (1977), there had been no significant Contract Clause challenges before the Court since the 1930s. Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus, the next Contract Clause case of note after United States Trust, strengthened the impact of the clause and proved that it was not, in Justice Stewart's words, "a dead letter."
Expectations that Spannaus would inaugurate a new era for the Contract Clause proved to be short-lived. In Exxon Corp. v. Eagerton (1983), the Court restricted the application of its Spannaus ruling to statutes whose "sole effect" was "to alter contractual duties." Four years later, in Keystone Bituminous Coal Association v. DeBeni (1987), the Court rejected a Contract Clause challenge to a Pennsylvania law.
- Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
- Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398 (1934).
- W. B. Worthen Co. v. Thomas, 292 U.S. 426 (1934).
- W. B. Worthen Co. v. Kavanaugh, 295 U.S. 56 (1935).
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- Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus - Decision
- Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus - Further Readings
- Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus - Allied Is Finished With Minnesota--but Not Vice Versa
- Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus - Not A "dead Letter"
- Allied Structural Steel Co. v. Spannaus - The Dissenters Take The Fourteenth
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