MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
In 1973, North Carolina enacted a statute which required, inter alia, all closed containers of apples sold, offered for sale, or shipped into the State to bear "no grade other than the applicable U. S. grade or standard." N. C. Gen. Stat. § 106-189.1 (1973). In an action brought by the Washington State Apple Advertising Commission, a three-judge Federal District Court invalidated the statute insofar as it prohibited the display of Washington State apple grades on the ground that it unconstitutionally discriminated against interstate commerce.
Washington State is the Nation's largest producer of apples, its crops accounting for approximately 30% of all apples grown domestically and nearly half of all apples shipped in closed containers in interstate commerce. As might be expected, the production and sale of apples on this scale is a multimillion dollar enterprise which plays a significant role in Washington's economy. Because of the importance of the apple industry to the State, its legislature has undertaken to protect and enhance the reputation of Washington apples by establishing a stringent, mandatory inspection program, administered by the State's Department of Agriculture, which requires all apples shipped in interstate commerce to be tested under strict quality standards and graded accordingly. In all cases, the Washington State grades, which have gained substantial acceptance in the trade, are the equivalent of, or superior to, the comparable grades and standards adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Compliance with the Washington inspection scheme costs the State's growers approximately $1 million each year.
In addition to the inspection program, the state legislature has sought to enhance the market for Washington apples through the creation of a state agency, the Washington State Apple Advertising Commission, charged with the statutory
In 1972, the North Carolina Board of Agriculture adopted an administrative regulation, unique in the 50 States, which in effect required all closed containers of apples shipped into or sold in the State to display either the applicable USDA grade or a notice indicating no classification. State grades were expressly prohibited.
With these problems confronting the industry, the Washington State Apple Advertising Commission petitioned the North Carolina Board of Agriculture to amend its regulation to permit the display of state grades. An administrative hearing was held on the question but no relief was granted.
Nonetheless, the Commission once again requested an exemption which would have permitted the Washington apple growers to display both the United States and the Washington State grades on their shipments to North Carolina. This request, too, was denied.
Unsuccessful in its attempts to secure administrative relief, the Commission
After a hearing, the District Court granted the requested relief. 408 F.Supp. 857 (1976). At the outset, it held that the Commission had standing to challenge the statute both in its own right and on behalf of the Washington State growers and dealers, and that the $10,000 amount-in-controversy
In this Court, as before, the North Carolina officials vigorously contest the Washington Commission's standing to prosecute this action, either in its own right, or on behalf of that State's apple industry which it purports to represent. At the outset, appellants maintain that the Commission lacks the "personal stake" in the outcome of this litigation essential to its invocation of federal-court jurisdiction. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 (1962). The Commission, they point out, is a state agency, not itself engaged in the production and sale of Washington apples or their shipment into North Carolina. Rather, its North Carolina activities are limited to the promotion of Washington apples in that market through advertising.
Moreover, appellants assert, the Commission cannot rely on
If the Commission were a voluntary membership organization —a typical trade association—its standing to bring this action as the representative of its constituents would be clear under prior decisions of this court. In Warth v. Seldin, supra, we stated:
See also Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Org., supra, at 39-40; Meek v. Pittenger, 421 U.S. 349, 355-356, n. 5 (1975); Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 739 (1972); National Motor Freight Assn. v. United States, supra. We went on in Warth to elaborate on the type of relief that an association could properly pursue on behalf of its members:
Thus we have recognized that an association has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when: (a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.
The prerequisites to "associational standing" described in Warth are clearly present here. The Commission's complaint alleged, and the District Court found as a fact, that the North Carolina statute had caused some Washington apple growers and dealers (a) to obliterate Washington State grades from the
The only question presented, therefore, is whether, on this record, the Commission's status as a state agency, rather than a traditional voluntary membership organization, precludes it from asserting the claims of the Washington apple growers and dealers who form its constituency. We think not. The Commission, while admittedly a state agency, for all practical purposes performs the functions of a traditional trade association representing the Washington apple industry. As previously noted, its purpose is the protection and promotion of the Washington apple industry; and, in the pursuit of that end, it has engaged in advertising, market research and analysis, public education campaigns, and scientific research. It thus serves a specialized segment of the State's economic community which is the primary beneficiary of its activities, including the prosecution of this kind of litigation.
Moreover, while the apple growers and dealers are not "members" of the Commission in the traditional trade association sense, they possess all of the indicia of membership in an organization. They alone elect the members of the Commission; they alone may serve on the Commission; they alone finance its activities, including the costs of this lawsuit,
Finally, we note that the interests of the Commission itself may be adversely affected by the outcome of this litigation. The annual assessments paid to the Commission are tied to the volume of apples grown and packaged as "Washington Apples." In the event the North Carolina statute results in a contraction of the market for Washington apples or prevents any market expansion that might otherwise occur, it could reduce the amount of the assessments due the Commission and used to support its activities. This financial nexus between the interests of the Commission and its constituents coalesces with the other factors noted above to "assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Baker v. Carr, 369 U. S., at 204; see also NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449, 459-460 (1958).
Under the circumstances presented here, it would exalt form over substance to differentiate between the Washington Commission and a traditional trade association representing the individual growers and dealers who collectively form its constituency. We therefore agree with the District Court that the Commission has standing to bring this action in a representational capacity.
We turn next to the appellants' claim that the Commission has failed to satisfy the $10,000 amount-in-controversy requirement of 28 U. S. C. § 1331. As to this, the appellants maintain that the Commission itself has not demonstrated that its right to be free of the restrictions imposed by the challenged statute is worth more than the requisite $10,000. Indeed, they argue that the Commission has made no real effort to do so, but has instead attempted to rely on the actual and threatened injury to the individual Washington apple growers and dealers upon whom the statute has a direct impact. This, they claim, it cannot do, for those growers and dealers are not parties to this litigation. Alternatively, appellants argue that even if the Commission can properly rely on the claims of the individual growers and dealers, it cannot establish the required jurisdictional amount without aggregating those claims. Such aggregation, they argue, is impermissible under this Court's decisions in Snyder v. Harris, 394 U.S. 332 (1969), and Zahn v. International Paper Co., 414 U.S. 291 (1973).
Our determination that the Commission has standing to assert the rights of the individual growers and dealers in a representational capacity disposes of the appellants' first contention. Obviously, if the Commission has standing to litigate the claims of its constituents, it may also rely on them to meet the requisite amount in controversy. Hence, we proceed to the question of whether those claims were sufficient to confer subject-matter jurisdiction on the District Court. In resolving this issue, we have found it unnecessary to reach the aggregation question posed by the appellants for it does not appear to us "to a legal certainty" that the claims of at least some of the individual growers and dealers will not amount to the required $10,000. St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288-289 (1938).
Here the record demonstrates that the growers and dealers have suffered and will continue to suffer losses of various types. For example, there is evidence supporting the District Court's finding that individual growers and shippers lost accounts in North Carolina as a direct result of the statute. Obviously, those lost sales could lead to diminished profits. There is also evidence to support the finding that individual growers and dealers incurred substantial costs in complying with the statute. As previously noted, the statute caused some growers and dealers to manually obliterate the Washington grades from closed containers to be shipped to North Carolina at a cost of from 5 to 15 cents per carton. Other dealers decided to alter their marketing practices, not without cost, by repacking apples or abandoning the use of preprinted containers entirely, among other things. Such costs of compliance are properly considered in computing the amount in controversy. Buck v. Gallagher, supra; Packard v. Banton, supra; Allway Taxi, Inc. v. New York, 340 F.Supp. 1120
Both the substantial volume of sales in North Carolina— the record demonstrates that in 1974 alone, such sales were in excess of $2 million
We turn finally to the appellants' claim that the District Court erred in holding that the North Carolina statute violated the Commerce Clause insofar as it prohibited the display of Washington State grades on closed containers of apples shipped into the State. Appellants do not really contest the District Court's determination that the challenged statute burdened the Washington apple industry by increasing its
Prior to the statute's enactment, appellants point out, apples from 13 different States were shipped into North Carolina for sale. Seven of those States, including the State of Washington, had their own grading systems which, while differing in their standards, used similar descriptive labels (e. g., fancy, extra fancy, etc.). This multiplicity of inconsistent state grades, as the District Court itself found, posed dangers of deception and confusion not only in the North Carolina market, but in the Nation as a whole. The North Carolina statute, appellants claim, was enacted to eliminate this source of deception and confusion by replacing the numerous state grades with a single uniform standard. Moreover, it is contended that North Carolina sought to accomplish this goal of uniformity in an evenhanded manner as evidenced by the fact that its statute applies to all apples sold in closed containers in the State without regard to their point of origin. Nonetheless, appellants argue that the District Court gave "scant attention" to the obvious benefits flowing from the challenged legislation and to the long line of decisions from this Court holding that the States possess "broad powers" to protect local purchasers from fraud and deception in the marketing of foodstuffs. E. g., Florida Lime & Avocado Growers, Inc. v. Paul, 373 U.S. 132 (1963); Pacific States Box & Basket Co. v. White, 296 U.S. 176 (1935); Corn Products Refining Co. v. Eddy, 249 U.S. 427 (1919).
As the appellants properly point out, not every exercise of state authority imposing some burden on the free flow of commerce is invalid. E. g., Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
Moreover, as appellants correctly note, that "residuum" is particularly strong when the State acts to protect its citizenry in matters pertaining to the sale of foodstuffs. Florida Lime & Avocado Growers, Inc., supra, at 146. By the same token, however, a finding that state legislation furthers matters of legitimate local concern, even in the health and consumer protection areas, does not end the inquiry. Such a view, we have noted, "would mean that the Commerce Clause of itself imposes no limitations on state action . . . save for the rare instance where a state artlessly discloses an avowed purpose to discriminate against interstate goods." Dean Milk Co. v. Madison, 340 U.S. 349, 354 (1951). Rather, when such state legislation comes into conflict with the Commerce Clause's overriding requirement of a national "common market," we are confronted with the task of effecting an accommodation of the competing national and local interests. Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., 397 U.S. 137, 142 (1970); Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., supra, at 370-372. We turn to that task.
As the District Court correctly found, the challenged statute has the practical effect of not only burdening interstate sales of Washington apples, but also discriminating against them. This discrimination takes various forms. The first, and most
Second, the statute has the effect of stripping away from the Washington apple industry the competitive and economic advantages it has earned for itself through its expensive inspection and grading system. The record demonstrates that the Washington apple-grading system has gained nationwide acceptance in the apple trade. Indeed, it contains numerous affidavits from apple brokers and dealers located both inside and outside of North Carolina who state their preference, and that of their customers, for apples graded under the Washington, as opposed to the USDA, system because of the former's greater consistency, its emphasis on color, and its supporting mandatory inspections. Once again, the statute had no similar impact on the North Carolina apple industry and thus operated to its benefit.
Third, by prohibiting Washington growers and dealers from marketing apples under their State's grades, the statute has a leveling effect which insidiously operates to the advantage of local apple producers. As noted earlier, the Washington State grades are equal or superior to the USDA grades in all corresponding categories. Hence, with free market forces at
Despite the statute's facial neutrality, the Commission suggests that its discriminatory impact on interstate commerce was not an unintended byproduct and there are some indications in the record to that effect. The most glaring is the response of the North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner to the Commission's request for an exemption following the statute's passage in which he indicated that before he could support such an exemption, he would "want to have the sentiment from our apple producers since they were mainly responsible for this legislation being passed . . . ." App. 21 (emphasis added). Moreover, we find it somewhat suspect that North Carolina singled out only closed containers of apples, the very means by which apples are transported in commerce, to effectuate the statute's ostensible consumer protection purpose when apples are not generally sold at retail in their shipping containers. However, we need not ascribe an economic protection motive to the North Carolina Legislature to resolve this case; we conclude that the challenged statute cannot stand insofar as it prohibits the
When discrimination against commerce of the type we have found is demonstrated, the burden falls on the State to justify it both in terms of the local benefits flowing from the statute and the unavailability of nondiscriminatory alternatives adequate to preserve the local interests at stake. Dean Milk Co. v. Madison, 340 U. S., at 354. See also Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 424 U. S., at 373; Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., 397 U. S., at 142; Polar Ice Cream & Creamery Co. v. Andrews, 375 U.S. 361, 375 n. 9 (1964); Baldwin v. G. A. F. Seelig, Inc., 294 U.S. 511, 524 (1935). North Carolina has failed to sustain that burden on both scores.
The several States unquestionably possess a substantial interest in protecting their citizens from confusion and deception in the marketing of foodstuffs, but the challenged statute does remarkably little to further that laudable goal at least with respect to Washington apples and grades. The statute, as already noted, permits the marketing of closed containers of apples under no grades at all. Such a result can hardly be thought to eliminate the problems of deception and confusion created by the multiplicity of differing state grades; indeed, it magnifies them by depriving purchasers of all information concerning the quality of the contents of closed apple containers. Moreover, although the statute is ostensibly a consumer protection measure, it directs its primary efforts, not at the consuming public at large, but at apple wholesalers and brokers who are the principal purchasers of closed containers of apples. And those individuals are presumably the most knowledgeable individuals in this area. Since the statute does nothing at all to purify the flow of information at the retail level, it does little to protect consumers against the problems it was designed to eliminate. Finally, we note that any potential
In addition, it appears that nondiscriminatory alternatives to the outright ban of Washington State grades are readily available. For example, North Carolina could effectuate its goal by permitting out-of-state growers to utilize state grades only if they also marked their shipments with the applicable USDA label. In that case, the USDA grade would serve as a benchmark against which the consumer could evaluate the quality of the various state grades. If this alternative was for some reason inadequate to eradicate problems caused by state grades inferior to those adopted by the USDA, North Carolina might consider banning those state grades which, unlike Washington's, could not be demonstrated to be equal or superior to the corresponding USDA categories. Concededly, even in this latter instance, some potential for "confusion" might persist. However, it is the type of "confusion" that the national interest in the free flow of goods between the States demands be tolerated.
The judgment of the District Court is
MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
"(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs . . . ."
"(6) Apple containers must show the applicable U. S. Grade on the principal display panel or marked `Unclassified,' `Not Graded,' or `Grade Not Determined.' State grades shall not be shown." § 3-24.5 (6), Rules, Regulations, Definitions and Standards of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.