Case Involving the Travel Industry Enforcement Guidelines
In Morales v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 504 U.S. 374, 378, 119 L. Ed. 2d 157, 112 S. Ct. 2031 (1992), the United States Supreme Court considered Travel Industry Enforcement Guidelines, promulgated by the National Association of Attorneys General ("NAAG"). See Morales, 504 U.S. at 374.
The NAAG guidelines purported to govern, inter alia, the content and format of airline-fare advertising. See Morales, 504 U.S. at 393-418. Several states, including Texas, attempted to enforce the NAAG guidelines to stop allegedly deceptive airline advertisements. See id. at 379.
To determine whether the guidelines were preempted by the Act, the Court was initially faced with delineating the ordinary meaning of the term "related to." See id. at 383.
The Court adopted the same meaning found in other preemption statutes: "having a connection with, or reference to, airline 'rates, routes, or services.'" Id. at 384.
Specifically, the Court referred to similar "related to" language in the preemption clause of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). See Morales v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 504 U.S. 374, 383, 119 L. Ed. 2d 157, 112 S. Ct. 2031 (1992).
The "related to" language was intended to be broad in order to express an expansive preemptive purpose. See id. at 383.
The Court concluded that the states' initiative related to airline rates, routes, or services and therefore found that the fare-advertising provisions of the NAAG guidelines were preempted by the Act. See id. at 391.
The Court also noted that the Act does not preempt all enforcement of state law against airlines.
The Court recognized that some state actions might affect airlines in "'too tenuous, remote, or peripheral a manner' to have pre-emptive effect" but noted that the case before it did not present a "borderline question" and expressed no view about where it would be appropriate "to draw the line." Id. at 390 (quoting Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 463 U.S. 85, 100 n.21, 77 L. Ed. 2d 490, 103 S. Ct. 2890 (1983)).